Rick Hanson PhD
Aug 08, 2011
We evolved to be afraid.
The ancient ancestors that were casual and blithely hopeful, underestimating the risks around them – predators, loss of food, aggression from others of their kind – did not pass on their genes. But the ones that were nervous were very successful – and we are their great-grandchildren, sitting atop the food chain.
Consequently, multiple hair-trigger systems in your brain continually scan for threats. At the least whiff of danger – which these days comes mainly in the form of social hazards like indifference, criticism, rejection, or disrespect – alarm bells start ringing. See a frown across a dinner table, hear a cold tone from a supervisor, …
Rick Hanson PhD
Aug 01, 2011
To simplify a complex process, your brain evolved in three stages:
- Reptile – Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm
- Mammal – Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards
- Primate – Cortex, focused on attaching to “us”
This post is about weaving the sense of being included and loved into the primate cerebral cortex.
In ancient times, membership in a band was critical to survival: exile was a death sentence in the Serengeti. Today, feeling understood, valued, and cherished – whether as a child or an adult, and with regard to another person or to a group – may not be a life and death matter (though studies do show that survival rates for cancer …
Rick Hanson PhD
Jul 23, 2011
Everyone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, King David, the Buddha, everybody.
It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse, and learn from them so they don’t happen again. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the point of usefulness: they’re unfairly self-critical.
Inside the mind are many sub-personalities. For example, one part of me might set the alarm clock for 6 am to get up and exercise . . . and then when it goes off, another part of me could grumble: “Who set the darn clock?” More broadly, there is a kind of inner critic and inner protector inside each …
Jan 18, 2011
The Vancouver Sun has a nice, although brief, article on reducing stress.
1. Exercise. It helps to release stress, as it improves overall physical and mental health, and improves sleep. This could include any type of activity or meditation, including yoga, tai chi or even a brisk walk to the store.
I don’t know if meditation strictly counts as exercise, but certainly both physical exercise and meditation are very valuable in reducing stress.
2. Focus on building a strong support network. Relationships are vital to coping with stress throughout the year.
Buddhist teachings place a lot of stress on building a sense of community, with an emphasis on spiritual friendship, lovingkindness, and sangha …
Nov 09, 2010
When the film Four Weddings and a Funeral came out in 1994, I was irritated by the film’s ‘token’ inclusion of a deaf character and two gay men. A lesbian friend was less judgemental. She was just thrilled that a mainstream film featured a gay relationship.
Reading Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-seller, and seeing the film adaptation starring Julia Roberts, I think I know how my friend felt. The ideas are flawed, but to see Buddhism portrayed positively in popular culture is a delight.
The story – if you don’t know it – is of a thirty-something woman, unsatisfied with her affluent New York life, who goes …
Jul 17, 2010
What do you do when your heart says “yes” to someone who’s determined to break it? Auntie Suvanna’s wisdom and compassion manifest in advising a woman who’s looking for love in the wrong place.
I have been practicing Buddhism for several years. However, I keep getting caught in the Shempa with this particular man. I am 60 years old and divorced for 8 years. I met this man 3 years ago when I started dancing. He was attentive and pursued me for a short time (I won’t go into details) and then dumped me in pursuit of a 31 year old (30 years his junior) who had …
Jun 15, 2010
How do we get unstuck from our emotional patterns so we can respond to our experiences spontaneously? Ponlop Rinpoche explains how awareness and acceptance can help us out of our emotional ruts.
You would certainly recognize your signature on a piece of paper, but do you know your own emotional signature? We all have one. It’s our predictable way of reacting to situations. Your friends probably recognize your emotional signature better than you do. When you get into a fight with your partner, for example, they can predict just how it will go. They know if you’re likely to slam a door, storm out of the house, or call your mother. They …
Sep 17, 2009
A Canadian author’s sophomore novel deals with the serious subjects of disability and unrequited incestuous love, but brims over with life and laughter as it provokes the reader to reflect.
This is Caroline Adderson’s second novel — and one filled with humor, likable characters and great writing that make for an easy weekend read.
Ross and Iliana are three weeks into their marriage when a car accident and a moving tennis ball change the dynamics of their lives and lead them both into a journey of self-reflection, new territories, and faith.
Ross Alexander is a funny, charismatic and passionate chef whom runs his own business, Reel Food, catering to the film industry. He meets Iliana, …
Aug 24, 2009
A young man in a troubled relationship seeks advice for Wildmind’s resident advice columnist, Auntie Suvanna. What’s the best path when you’re hooked up to someone who sees you as being the source of all her problems?
I stumbled upon you while searching for Buddhist relationship advice, and I hope you can help me. It is a rather long story, but you did say in the post I read that you need details so here goes…
First, I have not been studying Buddhism for very long now, only a few months, and not very consistently at that. But a lot of it matches my own feelings already.
I have been …
Apr 30, 2009
Just to help you keep track of what’s hot on Wildmind at the moment, we’ve put together this list of the ten blog posts that have received the most visitors this year. Enjoy!
10. Naming negative emotions makes them weaker Wired Magazine reports on research that’s of relevance to meditators — especially those that use the vipassana technique of “noting,” where we name the most prominent aspect of our experience, saying inwardly, for example, “anger, anger” when we recognize that that emotion is present.