The Neurodharma of Love

Rick Hanson and Jan Hanson
Esalen Institute
Dec 3-5, 2010

For thousands of years, meditators in many traditions have used the mind to change the brain, open the heart, settle into blissful absorption, and to experience liberating insight. Today, scientists are studying the brains of longtime contemplative practitioners—the Olympic athletes of mental training. Modern neuroscience is confirming ancient practices and revealing new ways to light up your own brain circuits of happiness, love, and wisdom. Mental activity changes neural structure in a process called neuroplasticity, which gives you a great opportunity to redirect the brain, and thus your whole being. For example, recent studies have shown that focusing on gratitude and other pleasant feelings stimulates and strengthens the left frontal lobes, which in turn lifts your mood. Similarly, certain mindfulness practices enlarge the insula in your brain, and the benefits include a greater ability to tune into others.

The historically unprecedented synergy of brain science, positive psychology, and contemplative practice offers an operating manual-plus-toolbox for the human brain. By using your mind alone in skillful ways, you can change your own brain for the better.

Through group discussions, meditations, and exercises, learn how to stimulate and strengthen the neural circuits of empathy, attachment, and love. In particular, we’ll explore how to integrate assertiveness and lovingkindness, and how to ride the rollercoaster of romance and intimate partnership with grace and contentment.

No background in neurology or meditation is required, and you can use these research-based methods in daily life. This work is very relevant to helping professionals, and many of these methods can be adapted for children.

Category : Past Workshops Posted on November 5, 2010

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