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The Neuroscience Of Mindfulness – Rick Hanson

The Neuroscience Of Mindfulness With Dr Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson is a neuropsychologist and New York Times best-selling author. His books include ‘Hardwiring Happiness’, ‘Buddha’s Brain’, ‘Just One Thing’, and ‘Mother Nurture’. Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, he has taught in meditation centres worldwide and has created a powerful one year online course called the Foundations of Well-Being.

Today we talk about all things neuroscience and mindfulness. In this video Melli and Rick explore…

  • How mindfulness affects the body and brain, and therefore our lives.
  • What you can expect to unfold in brain and behaviour with long term practice of mindfulness.
  • The ideal amount of time per day to practice.
  • The brain based reason that mindfulness can change our sense of self.
  • The science backed benefits of mindfulness
  • Powerful tips on how to get the best out of your meditation practice

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Show Notes

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You can find a wealth of free resources as well as details about Ricks books and events on his website here. Also, you might want to check out the foundations of wellbeing program (highly recommended!) which you can see at http://fwb.rickhanson.net/




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Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

Upgrade for Full Access Pass

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Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

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265 Responses

    1. Mary Anzinger

      Thank you for all of this! I too, appreciate Mr. Hanson’s emphasis on adding the moral dimension and the talk about Buddha Noble Truths. I am grateful to hear the evidence of the brain with mindfulness.. Thank you for this. I hope that there are a million or more people watching this.

  1. gerri roche

    Really appreciated Rick Hanson’s emphasis on the moral dimension and the two Noble Truths of Buddhism as insights.Great to hear the scientific evidence as this is makes it clearer for the ‘western’ mind.

  2. Sian

    I have really enjoyed this summit so far, thank you for your vision to imagine it and your determination and ongoing commitment to organise and deliver it. Rick Hanson is an amazing person who I have not heard before and am now inspired to find out more about his writings, as well as a fascination with the science of mindfulness and positive neuro-plasticity. Thank you Melli and team, Love and Light, Sian

  3. Sue Willey

    This is wonderful stuff – so grateful that Rick talked about, as well as being clear about what we mean by mindfulness, that it is one of a number of dimensions that when cultivated together lead to peace and well being, that it is not sufficient on its own, but that it has a moral/ethical dimension as well, and how important it is to remember and cultivate that. Grateful for the referencing of the Buddha. Much gratitude. Thankyou.

    1. Jenna Kumiega

      Hi Michaela, I’m replying to this because no-one else has so far. Your question reminds me of advice given by John Garrie Roshi, who was my meditation teacher. Which is to be wary, when you are an inexperienced practitioner, of jumping from one form of practice to another, one kind of meditation to another. On the one hand this may just be the manifestation of monkey-brain, unable to sustain single-pointed focus, and on the other hand it may also be a way of avoiding practice that we find particularly challenging, looking the comfortable, for the easy or quick-fix. In early stages, if you are unsure what you are doing or feel a bit lost in the process, it is invaluable to have a meditation teacher that you feel drawn to, who you can trust. The right person will be able to point you towards the practice that is appropriate for you, that you should focus on.

  4. Nicola Akhurst

    I really got a lot out of this talk. However, I came a bit unstuck understanding the discussion in the middle about bear (or bare??? because I know you don’t mean the four legged variety found in Canada) witnessing and choiceless awareness (partly because I’ve never come across these terms) and how mindfulness can be more than this. I’m not sure how it would be less than or more than?

    1. Andy Rickford

      This is only a very partial answer. Bare Witnessing and Choiceness Awareness are specific mindfulness/meditation techniques where the practitioner is not trying to ‘steer’ things in any way. From what Melli and Rick were saying, I suspect there may be some debate (that I’ve not come across before) about whether *all* you need is to be mindful, without adding things like metta (lovingkindness) practice or deliberately focussing on mindfulness of body / breath / whatever.
      So kinda technical for those of us still new to the scene!

  5. clarisse sroussi

    “A path of heart, with heart, to heart” from both a neuroscientist and beautiful human being’s point of view. What a vivid , inspiring and touching lecture. A warm Thank you for organizing this summit of such a high quality. Congrats !

  6. Shailja

    VERY INSIGHTFUL AND FASCINATING! been practising for over decade and half now without delving into the science of it! but watching these videos validate the process and experiences one goes through during practises
    great initiative.!
    thank you

  7. Michelle Lesaffre

    Another fascinating talk! I love each speakers take on the subject in all its facets and dimensions. There is always something new to learn..and share. Thank you for putting this Summit together.

  8. Susie Hopkins

    It’s all amazing! I’m intrigued about the fact that I don’t think I’ve heard the word love used yet. This talk at least talked about heart, and there’s been lots about kindness…for me mindfulness is all about love. I’m wondering why it’s not been touched on… yet 🙂

    1. Susie Hopkins

      He used the word love after all! Though only in a contextual sense. Interesting… For me, as I’ve become more mindful and taken things less personally and to heart, I’ve become less fearful which means I have been able to open to love more. Anybody else have this experience? By the way, I LOVE the crazy critters representing us, awesome!!

    2. Andy Rickford

      I suspect many of the speakers avoid the word ‘love’ because it is used for such a variety of experiences and behaviours – many of them unwholesome and selfish, involving things like clinging, possessiveness, neediness, jealousy, etc.
      Words like ‘kindness” and ‘generosity’, on the other hand, are more straightforward and difficult to misconstrue.

  9. Paul

    I am finding that watching these talks is just getting better every day as we get all of the different points of view. Some real new insights here for me to consider. Thank you for all of the hard work in putting this together for our benefit,

  10. Shona Muir

    Enjoying my path with rich insight into mindfulness, Thank you Melli for the summit and making it accessible to me (a novice), as you put me in touch with endless information and resources into the practice of Mindfulness. Looking forward to tomorrows talk.

  11. Veronica Yu

    I find myself extra excited to get up each morning because of this summit! It is super nourishing and has provided many more resources to help guide me along my way. Thank you once again!

  12. annie lesthaeghe

    Thank you.For the people who want to know more can recommend from Rick : the foundations of
    Well being .
    Liked the forum and took some ideas into daily live
    which became already healthier habits.

  13. Willeke Kasje

    What a wonderful summit so far. All those amazing inspirational people sharing their journey and knowlegde about Mindfulness. And from very different perspectives as well. I loved both Susan Albers and Rick Hanson. They were truly great and speak from the heart. Thanks once again to Melli and your team!!

  14. Sabina Adanic

    I really, really enjoyed today’s talk. I’m trying to do a small notes for every talk, just the stuff that I find most important .. And today I just couldn’t stop writing 🙂 Thanx!

    Btw, Melli, do you have birds/parrots in the room? I hear chirping all the time 😉

  15. Tobias Schreiber

    Great information and persuasive discussion for the integration of mindfulness practice into daily living. Thank you Mell for bringing all of these interesting unifying discussions to the light of awareness. Rick brings the practice to a whole range of participants. Wonderful discussion and insightful information. Deeply moving and motivating.

  16. Maria Cristina+Silveira

    I am very thankful for this experience.
    Thank you all for all the wonderful interviews. Mindfulness changed my life two years ago and keep improving it. I am a better person, with more patience and compassion, awareness and a lighter perspective of life.
    Greetings fro Brazil.

  17. Karen Cooper

    Wow.. all this amazing information from such extraordinary presenters has my mind in a spin! I especially have enjoyed Tami’s talk and Rick’s today.

    Thank you, thank you Melli and team for all your hard work in putting this together. Sensational work.

  18. Diane Berryman

    Fascinating and inspiring! Important to underscore the fact that mindfulness should not be seen as an end in itself, but rather a means to an end and that to have real impact on the world it needs to integrate a moral/ethical dimension.

  19. Jill Zastko

    Deepest bows of gratitude to all the teachers and Melli and Matt as we complete seven days of mindfulness and understanding together! I was reading the comments and I could echo many of them. It’s so inspiring and educational to know the science and tradition behind what, as was mentioned at the beginning of today’s session, this deep, inherent knowing or awareness of the sense of the “unnecessary constriction of happiness” and what is happening in the brain when we “stretch our synapses” so to speak, to go beyond the “I/me” construct. I also appreciate Rick’s discussion of the root meaning of the word mindfulness as a “recollectedness.” So much resounding over the last week. Very inspiring!

  20. Megan Spencer

    Wow! And double wow… I feel like someone has just explained the universe to me! How intense and phenomenal – and dare I say it – enlightening. What a profound interview. A thousand thank you’s.
    Here’s a joke I just made up, inspired by Rick’s interview:
    “A Neuroscientist, a Poet and a Buddhist walk into a bar – oh wait, that’s just Rick Hanson..” ; D

  21. laura montalvo

    Rick was so clear on his explanations. I really enjoyed the interview, i didnt want it to end.
    I was a bit skeptic with this progam coming from facebook, but now im so glad and thankful for an amazing resource. Pure inspiration!

  22. Maja m.

    These 7 days were filled with inspiration and new informations. I feel calm, more aware and I´m inspired by everything I learnd from this summit. Melli, thank you so much and can´t wait for tomorrow´s event. With warmth, Maja 🙂

  23. Pamela Mantione

    I really enjoyed listening to this interview- the energy and passion was obvious and I’m excited to start my day! I’m going to get his book, Buddha Brain- I saw it a few months ago in the bookstore, and now that I have some background on what it’s about, I can’t wait to go pick it up. Thank you!!

  24. Anthony Hurdidge

    Hi Melli and team, thank you for a very relaxed and information talk with Rick today. I have learnt so much about the mind and how mindfulness can actually increase our brains, if only by a small amount.

    I think your birds are attempting to get in on your conversations, which is stimulating, as I can from a farming background.

    Thank you

  25. Kelly

    This is my first exposure to Dr. Rick Hanson and I am reminded at how grateful I am for my MBSR teacher for telling me about this Summit! Dr. Hanson is a WONDERFUL communicator I really understood what he expressed. There were GREAT action tips that I could grasp. So often the people I have heard, speak in such a way I have no idea what they are saying much less come away from the talk with some simple A, B, C’s. Thank YOU both for doing this to help me and so many others grow in my practice.

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