The Happiness Workout

The Happiness Workout

By Eric V. Copage for the NY Mag

Matthieu Ricard, happiness guru, has a new book, Why Meditate, a follow-up to his earlier how-to manual, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life_ã_s Most Important Skill. He came to town to promote both it and the practice of happiness in general. Ricard is a 64-year-old Frenchman who, shortly after receiving a doctorate in cellular genetics, decided to become a Buddhist monk. Today he is wearing the yellow-and-burgundy robes of his calling at an event in the West 17th Street loft offices of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. He is conducting a daylong meditation workshop for 57 quietly_ã”and spiritually_ã”affluent-looking men and women. He is also signing a few books.

Neuroscientists studying meditation have done numerous brain scans and brain-wave measurements on Ricard; they found that the parts of his brain associated with positive emotions were unusually active. In 2007, a British paper nicknamed him _ã–The Happiest Man in the World,_㝠which stuck.

In person, Ricard does seem to chuckle a lot. He says that while often people think of happiness as the absence of conflict, it_ã_s actually _ã–a cluster of qualities: altruism, compassion, inner peace, inner freedom, and inner strength._㝠And it can be cultivated. _ã–It_ã_s not, in principle, different from any skill. Instead of going to a gymnasium for fitness, you go to a compassion gymnasium, which is sitting in the morning and, for twenty minutes, bringing love and kindness to your mind._㝠Eventually, _ã–It will raise your baseline._ã

Read the rest of this happiness article HERE