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Archive for December, 2009

In the article, Seven Fact about the Brain that Incline the Mind to Joy, author Rick Hanson points out that the brain naturally emphasizes negative experiences. The term survival of the fittest means that those who successfully passed on their genes over millennia paid a lot of attention to negative experiences. Constantly on the alert, our ancestors were quick to freeze or bolt or attack depending on the situation thereby ensuring their survival.

Rick states that “the brain’s circuitry for the positive is like Teflon whereas negative experiences are like Velcro even though most of our experiences are either neutral or positive”. When you look back at your day, does your mind tend to focus on all of the good things that happened during the day or the one bad thing that happened? I know that my mind tends to revert to the latter.

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Why are we not happier?

According to the Dalai Lama, “the purpose of our life is to seek happiness”. Yet why are we not happier? What keeps us from being happier? There may be many reasons for this, but one reason stands out for me. We are looking for happiness in the wrong places. That is because we are deeply engrained to believe that happiness lies outside of ourselves. Our culture continuously reinforces this notion – consider the endless bombardment of media messages that flood our consciousness every day. The central theme of these messages is that if we can just get this next thing, then we will be happy. It’s like we’re all walking around with a hole in our hearts and we have to get that next object to fill the hole – to fulfill us.

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