Change your Mind Change your Brain: The Inner Conditions…

MEI: Hello, good morning,
my friends. For those who don’t know me,
my name is [? Mei. ?] For those who know me,
my name is still Mei. I’m the jolly good fellow
which nobody can deny. It’s my honor today to introduce
fellow jolly good fellow, Matthieu Ricard. Now Matthieu is a very gifted
scientist who became a Buddhist monk. He was regarded as one of the
most promising scientists of his generation. Sorry, biologist. I took
it from the web. He completed his PhD thesis
in 1972, before most of you were born. And unfortunately, he
wasn’t able to join Google at that time. So he went to Nepal instead,
and became a biologist. No, just kidding, he
became a monk. And he has lived and studied in
the Himalayas for the past 35 years, where he has been
doing humanitarian projects. Matthieu is also a bestselling
author. He’s a translator, and
he’s a photographer. And all these pictures,
they are taken by him. He’s also an active participant
in current scientific research on
meditation and the brain. And in many of those studies,
he is the brain that they’re studying. When you were in high school,
did they ever call you the brain? OK. If they did, they’d be right. So, Matthieu is a
very happy man. He’s so happy he wrote an entire
book on happiness. And he autographed my book,
so I’m very happy. Thank you. Matthieu is one of the most
fascinating men I’ve ever met in my life, and– MATTHIEU RICARD: You only
met me once, so. Yeah. And I meet a lot of famous
people, you guys know that. It is an honor and pleasure
for me to welcome Matthieu Ricard to our presence. AUDIENCE: [APPLAUSE] MATTHIEU RICARD: You know, just
to go on about, for those who don’t know him and those who
know him, there is also an interesting story of a
Middle East wise man called Mulla Nasreddin. Many of you could know him. And once he came into a coffee
shop, and went straight to the owner and asked him, did
you see me enter? And the guy said yes. And then he asked, but,
do you know me? And the guy said no. Then how do you know it’s me? So, thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to visit this
wonderful enjoyable place, where usually people in swimming
trunks moving into the alleys, going to
the swimming pool. Occasionally [INAUDIBLE] as he leaves his master chef
to go off to his office. So I definitely would like to
work there, it seems better than being at home. So probably I have nothing to
teach you about happiness. And someone told me actually I
should never have written this book because I never suffered
very much in my life, so, the last person to write a book on
happiness and suffering. So anyway, I thought to just
share a few ideas because they were very dear to me, and they
brought a lot of sense of fulfillment and joy to be
alive, and a sense of direction in life. And this came through reading
beings of great wisdom. It sort of started like that. We speak of leadership,
leadership has to be someone who somehow inspires you by
showing you the kind of potential that you
could actualize. Showing you what you could
become, and giving you a sense of direction and inspiration. It’s not very frequent
in life. And I was quite lucky in my
teens to be born in a family in France where my father was
a well-known philosopher, so we had all these great thinkers
and poets at home. My mother was an artist, so we
had all these surrealist painters and all that coming. Because of musical connections
when I was 16 years old, I had lunch with Stravinsky himself,
just for two hours with three people all together. And I had an uncle who was an
explorer, he went around the world on a sailboat without
the engine after the second world war. And the uncle had all kinds of
eccentric friends, such as one when we went to see in Paris and
there was a small note on his door saying, I left
on foot for Timbuktu, and things like that. So a lot of wonderful people. And in science of course, the
lab I was working with, with three Nobel Prize of medicine,
[? Jakov, ?] [? Mono, ?] and [? Wolf, ?] at [UNINTELLIGIBLE] institute. So it was very exciting. There was definitely a lot of
people to look at, as what could I do, where could
I be inspired? At the same time, definitely I
would have wished to play the piano, you know, like
[INAUDIBLE], or the chess like Bobby Fischer. But I don’t know if you remember
about Bobby Fischer, but who wants to become
Bobby Fischer? So there was a kind
of discrepancy. You could take 100 governors,
you would have a number of wonderful people, and some
governor with a quite short temper and not so nice
to deal with. But same thing with philosopher,
same thing with scientist, same thing with
artist. No matter what their particular skill or genius was,
there was no correlation as such, between their
human qualities and their particular genius. So you could try to pick up all
the things and make your own salad and try to– but that somehow didn’t
seem a bit artificial. Like making a [INAUDIBLE]
of all that and thinking is going to work. So then, I was lucky enough to
travel to the Himalayas, and then I met something
quite different. Men of wisdom. Men and women of wisdom. And what was special
about them– they are all the great Tibetan
teachers who have fled the invasion of Tibet towards
India and other places– is I didn’t really care so much
what they knew in terms of poetry, in terms of drama,
and even Buddhist philosophy in the beginning. That was not my interest
at all. But what they were, that
was inspiring. The quality, the
human quality. And then I though, I want to
become like them, not just know what they know. And so because there
was a kind of– the first trigger was seeing a
documentary movie on those great teachers, that a friend
of mine made for the French television. And at the end of the
documentary, there was a five minute silence [INAUDIBLE] of those meditators, and
hermits, and spiritual teachers, and the Dalai Lama. One after the other,
just silent. It was so powerful. It was like 20 Socrates or 20
St. Francis of Assisi, whoever you feel like is represent
the wisdom of humanity. Just there, alive,
in our time. So I said, well, I
should go to see. And then that was very
interesting, because, somehow, someone like that– and I’m
going to show some images– show you what you
could become. It’s a source of inspiration. Give you– that this is possible, somebody
made it somehow. Then of course we get interested
in how, but first we have to see that
it makes sense. And so also, in the course of
living in the Himalayas, I know, after awhile traveling
back and forth, some other things became quite clear about
what brings freedom or fulfillment in life. And it seems that we so much put
our hopes and fears in the outer conditions. So now, let’s be clear from the
beginning, we want outer conditions to be optimal. Compared to 150 years ago when
the life expectancy even in Europe was like 30 years. And who doesn’t want to live
long, to be healthy, to have access to education, to have
a wonderful working place, harmonious human relations in
one’s family, with friends, with people? Even in country where there is
peace, where there is not an oppressive regime? So all that we really deeply
support yearn for that, and that’s right. And we ought to develop that
to the maximum we can. And especially in the world
where this is far from being granted for many, many
places of the world. Where 3,000 children still die
every day of malaria, and all that you know. And there’s so much to do
just to bring those minimum outer condition. Yet it’s quite clear too, that
if we only put our hopes and fears in the outer world, it’s
not going to work in our search for direction, for
meaning, for genuine sense of fulfillment and accomplishment,
what do we call genuine happiness. Genuine happiness doesn’t mean
pleasant feelings one after the other, each one more and
more intense, piling them up, renewing them, seeking them,
and then collapsing of exhaustion at the end. That’s not going to work. So it’s more like a cluster of
qualities as we can develop as skills, like openness, genuine
altruistic love, compassion, inner strength, some kind
of inner peace. And then that gives you a sense
of confidence that’s not just like the false confidence
of arrogance, but confidence that you are less vulnerable and
therefore more ready also to be of service to others,
and contribute to a more compassionate and society that
gives you a better way of flourishing yourself
and others. And because more confidence
means less feeling of insecurity or fears, then
more readiness to be there for others. So it’s quite clear that the
outer conditions themselves are not enough, however
necessary or useful they might be. Not enough because we also can
clearly see that our state of mind, the way we interpret
and translate those outer condition in our inner
experience, are what really determines states of well
being and/or misery. And the state of mind can easily
override those outer conditions. We can feel terrible in a little
paradise, and we can feel still very strong and
joyful and wish to go about one’s life, and contribute to
the happiness of others, even in the face of adversity. So as the Dalai Lama once gave
this striking example, if you move in a very luxurious flat
at the hundredth floor of a high-tech skyscraper, for the
first time, you just bought it, and then you are totally
ruined within, destroyed in your heart, in your mind, all
you are going to look for is a window from which to jump. On the other hand, you could
have this great joy to be alive, empathy, whatever, all
those human qualities, even when other conditions doesn’t
seem nice at all. But because your state
of mind is stronger. And that’s such fortunate
situation. Because imagine that to find
happiness, the world would have to be the image of you
desire, your fancies, the universe could be a vast catalog
in which you could order all the ingredients for
happiness, forget it. It’s never going to
happen like that. There still should be 6 billion
catalogs, and everyone would choose different items,
and they would never work. This is not just it seems
obvious, but great thinkers thought otherwise. Emmanuel Kant wrote that
complete happiness will be the compete fulfillment of all our
desires, in quantity, quality, and duration. The whole idea of happiness
goes to the drain. This would never
happen, never. How could that be? But anyway, impermanence is
there, even you had for a fraction of a second, everything
to be happy. Then one piece was going to
be missing the next day. So again, collapse. It doesn’t work. And we know in real life, I
remember, when I was going to Tahiti, with the younger
[INAUDIBLE] of my ministry. I was the first two
Buddhist monk in Tahiti, it was big news. So in the evening news there
was big items. They found a snake in the forest, there’s no
snake in Tahiti, and second item, two Buddhist monk
arrive in Tahiti. So the next day we were
at this wonderful postcard-looking sunset in
Paul Gauguin’s house– and he was not there– but very
beautifully lit swimming pool, and sitting there and
then looking at each other, I said, oh. If we are the owner
of that it’s supposed to make us happy. There seems to be no relation. And then if that makes
us happy, then what? If we double the size of the
swimming pool, we twice as much happy? So of course no relation. It’s the way you interpret
things. And we had the confirmation
of that about the way of interpreting the world the next
morning, because Tahiti looks great on postcards, but
it’s pretty hot and damp and wet when you are there. So we were sitting on a
beautiful tree, and there was, imagine, there was this kind of
soft, mist, refreshing mist falling from the tree. We were sitting there. Complete bliss, thinking,
this is real paradise. Even the trees are
air-conditioned. But then someone came and said,
you know, those are pissing flies. So our perception of the world
changed right away. So let’s assume that the inner
conditions for well being are really what will determine
the quality of everything that goes by. And that’s a fair assumption. But then, that we’re a much
better position, because that’s our mind, the final
experiencer of that. At least we are not having
to modify the whole world to our taste. But we can change our mind. If we change our mind we change
our world, that’s the world we experience. So that’s the idea. So for that we need to identify
which conditions in our mind are leading to sense
of fulfillment and fruition, accomplishment. And sense that if we look 20
years ahead, if we look back, we see that somehow that’s the
best we could do with our capacities, and we chose the
right direction, something that’s really truly meaningful
in our life. So what are those conditions
which will nurture that quality? Also the quality of every
moment that passes. Because after all, life is not
just remembering the past and projecting the future. That’s the quality of
the present moment. That’s what today is made of. Someone says, take care of the
minutes, the hours will take care of themselves. So of all the minutes are
unhappy, how could the hours and day somehow be fulfilled? So we need that quality. So that has to do with
states of mind. And then there are states of
mind which are totally detrimental to the quality
of that life. Hatred, resentment, grudge,
nagging jealousy, obsessive desire, arrogance. All those are just makes you
feel miserable, and of course they also induce you to act and
speak in ways that also cause suffering around you. So it’s a lose-lose situation,
that comes to very self-centered, excessive feeling
of self-importance, bringing everything to oneself,
and trying to build up a so-called selfish
happiness, sometime at the detriment of others’
well being. That’s absolutely not
going to work. If a selfish happiness is the
goal of your life, then that life is soon going to
be without any goal. Because that simple
cannot work. The reason it cannot work is
that excessive preoccupation with oneself is a constant
source of torment and being vulnerable to everything. Criticism, praise, failure,
and success. All those will take
disproportionate importance, will be like a storm in
a glass of water. And each of those will be like
small balls bouncing in that small, tiny bubble of
the ego, and then hurting you every time. So we need to explode that
self-centeredness bubble, and let those bullets get lost in
the vast space of open-minded, so that we not just simply
obsess, what’s going to happen to me, how do I feel. I know this thing that
is just way off is buying trouble for ourself. So now there are other type of
emotions and mental state. We definitely feel as something
that is nourishing the sense of well-being, like,
say, loving kindness, unconditional love, wanting to
an act of generosity with no strings attached, just mere
wish of bringing some happiness or relief some
suffering to others. And some sense of inner peace,
inner strength, an inner contentment. So all of those together makes
it a way of being. And that’s what genuine
happiness is. It’s not just pleasant feelings
and trying to accumulate them endlessly. Because pleasant feelings are so
much fleeting, even you try to renew them, they depend upon
circumstances, upon time. The changing nature from one
moment to the other, something that is very pleasant, like a
chocolate cake, once serving is great, two– see, you become nauseous
to the same thing as change of nature. The most beautiful music you
can dream of, you might, if you are really hooked onto it,
listen three or four times at the row, but imagine
24 hours nonstop. What a fatigue. It doesn’t work. And also it is something
that somehow is so centered upon oneself. You can experience intense
sensation of pleasure if everyone is suffering
even at the cost of other making suffer. It’s not something that is
inspiring necessarily. And is so vulnerable
to change. Now, happiness as a way of
being, as a optimal way of the mind to be, will remain
throughout the ups and downs, to all the different
emotional states. And give you the resources to
deal with whatever comes. So rather than being dependent
on the fluctuating changes of ups and downs of life, that’s
what gives you the resources to deal with those changing
conditions. It’s like the depth of the
ocean, it’s always there, compared to the change on the
surface where there’s sometimes storms, sometimes
beautiful weather, but if you are not [INAUDIBLE] the depth,
then you are in the midst of that weather change on
the surface with nothing to refer to. So it is a way of being. Or a manner of being. But manners need
to be learned. It is not [INAUDIBLE], yet it
is true that we are more or less born with the kind of
traits, we are more or less happy and extrovert kids, or
kids which are a little bit more violent, and some others
are very sweet, and will give their toys to others. So we have traits, but no, those
are just blueprints. This is not the time to
elaborate on that, but epigenesis means that even you
have these set of genes, at any time there is something
that could regulate their expression. There are wonderful studies now
done showing that almost any kind of gene that determines
traits can be modified by the environment, by
receiving and giving love and tenderness. The gene can be for stress, for
instance, can be blocked for life, if there’s a strong
component of tenderness in very early life. And so those are just potential
that we are more or less gifted in the beginning,
but the hard work and the interaction can change that. So there is this flexibility
in everything. In the genes, in the way we
experience the world, so there is margin to change. And not only that, but by which
kind of mystery our mind and the way we experience
things, would just change to us happiness just because
we wish to be happy? Everything else in life
we need to learn. When we’re born, this
unidentified crying object cannot speak, cannot walk, can
do nothing, would die in few days if the mother wasn’t there
with great love and care to make that newborn baby be
alive and learn, and learn experience of life. And so forth. And then everything in our life,
like going to school, learning a profession, building
human relationship. All of that comes with learning,
with emotional skills, learned by experience. So how come that the [INAUDIBLE]
for fundamental thing that determines the
quality of our life would just come just like that? So we have to understand that
we usually underestimate the power or transformation
of mind. We think this is just life,
we are like that. This is the human nature to be
this mixture of light and shadows, quality and defect. And actually that’s desirable. It would be terribly boring
not to have jealousy, or strong passions even
that tear us apart. That’s exciting. And good rule that three days
of uninterrupted happiness would be so boring, it’s
always the same. My suffering is so vibrant,
it always changes, it’s so exciting. But you know, is this true? I was just saying that to
justify the fact that we are not quite sure how
to change that. And then we try to make a
philosophy to fit with that state of affairs. Because in truth, when you are
sitting in a beautiful garden or somewhere by a lake, with
someone you love, or just enjoying the beauty of nature,
and feeling in harmony with the world, with others, with
yourself, with less inner conflict, working [INAUDIBLE] stars or something I that. I feel really at peace. Are you going to regret the
tense atmosphere of the emergency room of a hospital
or something? Or I come now when you’re
sitting peacefully and say, please get angry right now. You say, why should I? I’m fine. Or would you like to spend
a whole afternoon being terribly jealous? You say no, why, it doesn’t
sound such a nice prospect. But if I say, would you like to
spend the next two, three hours having compassion or
loving kindness as the main state of mind presently
in your self? You say, well, that
seems pretty neat. So we feel instinctively that
even though we can’t escape for the time being those
different kinds of mental toxins, we’d rather be well
off without them. But now is it possible
to change that? Because we might say it’s so
deeply intrinsic to human nature, and we can’t
do anything. So yes, in a way, it is in human
nature we all have those positive and negative
emotions. So in that sense it is
part of human nature. But to be part of something
there are different ways of being part of something. You could be part of
something like the whiteness of the screen. That’s all over the texture of
the screen, and to remove that you would have to destroy
the screen. But this is also somehow
part of the screen. It’s there on the screen but
doesn’t penetrate the screen, doesn’t belong to the screen,
doesn’t remain to the screen, and the screen allows it
to appear, yet it is not modified as such. But it allows it to appear. So that’s the key. So in order for all the mental
states, mental construct you arise in our mind, whether
positive emotions or negative ones, no matter. There has to be some
kind of basic screen, or like the light. If I show a torch light to shine
on you, the light can show in the garden, beautiful
flowers, or maybe a pile of garbage. So you might say, this is
beautiful, this is ugly. The light allows you to see
that, but the light doesn’t become beautiful or ugly. The light is what makes that
perceptible, visible. Likewise, at the fundamental
aspect of cognition, of the mind, we call that the bay of consciousness, or the pure awareness. It’s a kind of basic cognitive
factor, and I think meditators can introspectively experience
that, behind the screen of thought. This kind of pure,
aware presence. Because at the luminous
aspect of mind in Buddhist terms, luminous– not that it glows in the dark
or like those [INAUDIBLE] things shooting from
the earth– but that it is luminous compared
to a dark object like this stool who has no cognitive
quality whatsoever. So it is luminous,
it’s cognizant. So now, that is not
tainted by hatred, jealousy, and so forth. It allows that to occur,
but it cannot be. If hatred was so intrinsically
[? part, ?] then it would shine
on everything. Like if the light was
beautiful in itself, everything would be beautiful
when you shine the light on something ugly, whatever. That’s not the case. So that [INAUDIBLE] because those mental constructs
are a result of causes and conditions. You can modify those present
conditions and that’s the principle of mind training. And that’s what meditation
is about. Meditation has many meanings,
but the root, the actual literal meaning in Sanskrit,
bhavana, means to cultivate. And Tibetan, gom means to be
familiar with something, to become familiar with a new way
of being, with new qualities, with a perception of the
world that is more attuned with reality. Not seeing the world as solid,
autonomous, permanent objects, but as a dynamic, flux,
interdependent of ceaselessly changing course and condition
even our consciousness is a stream, a dynamic stream,
constantly changing. And so it’s also to develop
qualities like compassion and loving kindness, so meditation
is ready to cultivate something. It can be to cultivate enough
calm to begin with, like led through mindful breathing, to
let the thoughts subside a little bit, and thought not
being caught in that constant whirlpool, then from that state
we can develop those qualities like compassion
and loving kindness. So it is something that need to
be trained, and everything has to be learned. Otherwise the spoiled brat of
our mind is going to continue to run over the place, and then
we have this mixture of constant joy and torment, and
we can do much better. We say that’s normal,
but normal state is just a pandemic. We are all so much like that
that we think it’s normal. But optimal is something else. And this is possible. So we can use all kinds of
methods, techniques, that’s what the methodology, or the
science, the contemplative science is about. Using antidotes, for instance. Antidote means there are things
one to one that are mutually exclusive. You can’t in the same gesture
stretch your hand friendly way and give a blow. You cannot in the same moment
of thought, want to harm someone and want to do good. It is very simple, but if you
think of that, the more you bring, say, altruistic
thoughts, thoughts of benevolence in your mind, the
less, at those moments, there will be space for malevolence,
harmful thoughts, and so forth. So you can imagine that, yes, we
do feel moments of love and moments of resentment, but
we don’t cultivate them. We don’t try to generate loving
kindness and just keep it flowing in our mind, and
remaining in, and feeding it, and preserving it for like
five, ten minutes. It’s not something we do. But that’s what we need to do if
we want to become that more part of our mind, if we want to
change our minute to minute emotions, and moods, and
then finally traits, that’s how we learn. You don’t learn skiing
by doing it 15 seconds every week. You have to do it
a second time. It won’t happen without a
minimum of dedication. And to dedicate oneself to
something and find the time for it, we need to see the
advantages of doing so. And in case of changing
one’s mind, advantages are quite obvious. There are many other
ways, but just to give you a quick example. [INAUDIBLE] finds his anger,
and by anger I mean malevolent anger. Not indignation in the
face of injustice or massacre or something. But anger that really has a
component of wishing to harm. And also, when we are invaded by
this we are one with anger. We cannot see anything else. We see the other person or
object of our anger as 100% despicable. We can’t see an equality
in that person. And we completely associate with
this anger, even though a few hours later we might say, I
was out of myself, I was no more myself. We know it as something that
was like having the flu. You are not the flu, but
the flu grips you. But then we could do something
else, instead of being obsessed by the trigger. We could try to dissociate,
and look at anger. Gaze at it. The role, sensation, and
feeling, and emotion of anger. Not the causes and circumstances
that creates it. Because that’s the fuel. That’s the wood that you have
constantly on the fire. But look at the fire itself,
forget about the wood. If you do so, the fire cannot
maintain itself very long. Anger cannot sustain
itself on its own. It’s just bound to vanish. It melts away like the morning
frost under the rising sun. And that’s a very skillful way
of dealing, because it avoids two extremes that do not work. One is venting anger, that
people say you should break pianos and all these kind of
things to feel better when you’re angry. It doesn’t work, it makes
you more and more angry. You get angry easily
and more often. Or keeping it as a time bomb
somewhere in the back of your mind, and then, again
it doesn’t work. So now here you have,
for the time being, solved the problem. You dealt with it, it vanished
away, there’s no trace for the time being. It might come back, but
you start again. So instead of venting it, or
keeping it, which will reinforce the tendency for
anger, here, each time you deal with it, with these very
powerful intelligence of dialogue with the
emotions, you’re actually eroding the tendency. And at some point you will be
less likely to become angry, it will be more difficult to
make you angry, and you can imagine some time where at
least hatred, the wish to willingly harm terribly
someone else, could be completely gone from
your mind. And that could be a result
of my training. Definitely we can enhance our
compassion and so forth. So it is something that’s highly
desirable in our life. It’s not just a luxury. It’s not just a supplementary
diet or vitamin of the soul. It’s something that’s really at
the heart of every moment that will go by. It’s something that also, with
time, we can see in ourself. And it really brings
some change. And it really brings some more
openness so that we have a more fruitful life, and
we can [INAUDIBLE] the service of others. Instead of the lose/lose
situation of these seeking this selfish happiness and
dis-considering others, when we feel miserable we make
others miserable. Here we have a win/win
situation. Loving kindness and compassion
are among the most positive of all positive emotion. And that’s what we’re going
to show you just now. And also of course, others
will perceive it in a positive way. So I just want to show you very
briefly since we speak of changing your mind, changing
your brain, since some years now, we have been collaborating
with neuroscientists. This is an endeavor that was
started by [INAUDIBLE] Dalai Lama, inspired by him into
studying the influence on the brain of a sustained
mind training. And the idea was, people who
have been [INAUDIBLE] as a concert violinist
has been at least 10,000 hours of violin. And there is some areas in the
brain which have changed. The area that deals with the
fingers, with the motor coordination and all
kinds of things. It has vastly increased in
activity, even in size. So what happens, not if you
learn the piano, but if you learn compassion? If you’re training vigilance
and attention, will that change the brain too? If that does, it means that
mediation is not just blissing out for a few moments under a
mango tree and try to empty your mind unsuccessfully, but
it is really a deep change that comes through
mind training. So that was a very interesting
approach. So we needed to start with
experienced meditators, because if there’s a noticeable
difference in them, then we can know, [INAUDIBLE] how did you reach there? And start with novices. If there was no difference in
those experts, then don’t expect to find one
after one week. So here’s the place where they
came from, and well, it’s almost as nice in the Google
campus, but it’s still easier to meditate there than
in the subway. But we can soon have a Google
campus in Tibet or somewhere, and I’m sure [INAUDIBLE] would
be very happy to be standing on top of Everest
without oxygen. And so those are the beautiful
places where they come from. And, oh, this was in Eastern
Tibet August 1st, the hottest day of the year. And the night before we were
camping, with Tibetan friends, and we have a quite large tent,
and it was snowing at dusk, and they said, we are
going to sleep outside. I said, why, we have
a big tent? They said yes, it’s
summertime. So they slept outside, and in
the morning there was 10 centimeters snow on
their clothes. So this is what I’m fortunate
to see from the window of my small hermitage in the Himalayas, so I can’t complain. And this is the example of
spiritual teachers here. You can see that it’s some kind
of beyond word, a kind of human quality that
we can’t miss. And in reality it was certainly
very strong. It’s almost like human goodness
becoming palpable. That’s what Paul Ekman,
I think you’re going to receive soon. One of the [INAUDIBLE]
expressions of emotions, that’s how he described an
encounter with the Dalai Lama. There’s something that you
almost physically, none of this weird vibes, but something
that’s so natural and simple, and yet something
that you can really feel. A kind of strength, mixed with
goodness, and solidity but at the same time sensitivity. I mean, it’s very hard to
describe, but it’s really what makes an extraordinarily
good human being. And this cat is certainly one
of the fortunate ones. And here’s my first teacher,
[UNINTELLIGIBLE]. This is a hermit who comes out
of six years of meditation in the hermitage. So the question is, is he so
happy because finally he’s coming out, or because he did
six years of meditation? And knowing him well, I would
favor the second hypothesis that it’s something that he
acquired through his training. In Madison, Wisconsin, now
the meditators have 256 electrodes, and there are two
ways of measuring brain activities. One is to electroencephalogram,
that has a very good time resolution,
thousands of a second change can be recorded on the scalp,
but not so clear exactly where it happens in the brain. So we have to combine that with
FMRI, which is magnetic resonance scanner, which gives
us a very good three dimensional analysis of where
things happening in the brain, brain imaging, but not
so good in time-wise. The resolution is one
or two seconds. So it’s like a camera in the
first case that is very fast shutter speed but not
so very focused. Second case is very
well focused but slow shutter speed. But if you combine both, you
get both spatial and time, temporal resolution. So that’s coming out
of two and a half hours in the scanner. Huge relief from that
mini-retreat. This is Richard Davidson,
the lead scientist in Madison, Wisconsin. Although there are other labs
doing this study, in Princeton, and Harvard, and
Berkeley, not so far from here, and more and
more interest. So there are many states that
you can study, because mediation is very varied. So that you can study focused
attention, mental imagery or visualization, you can study
compassion, and that’s one of the ones we have studied most.
And each of these has a different brain signature. So compassion here– I’ll spare you all the reading
that– but it’s the unconditional feeling of love
that begins with an object but then becomes more and
more universal to all sentient beings. And it’s a very powerful
and strong feeling of loving kindness. So this is the first paper
we published in the PNAS. And another, the actual
first results. So now what we need is
to compare things. We need to compare a meditator
at rest and in meditation. [INAUDIBLE] it compared
meditators with control group, those who are novice in
meditation, and see if there’s a difference. So we give the instructions off
to them, same instructions that meditator use for many
years, and ask them to do it for a week and come
back to the lab. And then, in the lab, what we
do, is a minute of rest, 10 minutes of intense getting in
the state of compassion, or focused attention, whatever
the subject is. And then doing that again
and again, 30, 40 times. In out, in out, and
measuring changes. We did it with the
experimenters, we did it with the controls. In case of the control,
the green line is the resting state. The blue line is also the
meditation state. They try to feel something but
it is not strong enough to elicit a strong response
in the brain. Here you see with the meditators
that the rest line is the same, but now, when
they engage in compassion meditation there’s a huge
increase, 1200% of the brain waves, particularly in the
gamma range, which is connected with the connections
in the brain and so forth. And it does happen also,
interestingly enough, mostly in the area of the brain which
the left prefrontal cortex, which has to do with
positive emotions. So compassion is among the most powerful positive emotion. And just to give you an idea,
this is a huge increase. Maybe there’s something big
happening in the brain if you’re about to be run
over by an elephant. But to go from a resting state
and 15 seconds voluntarily bring a powerful mental state,
that’s never been recorded like that in neuroscience. So everyone’s starting
to doubt. Is it an artifact
or something? So it took almost a year to make
sure that this was really the result of meditation and
not just something else. This is just a different way of
showing or displaying the same result. Another way, here are the
controls, here the meditators, it’s very, very different. And we also did real
time monitoring. When the compassion meditation
takes off, increases, then the meditator will just have a small
keyboard with the right and left arrows, he
will come up. One, two, three, four, five. Then if you prolong that, after
some minutes, he might start losing it a little bit. So he will go down. He’s not going to look at
the numbers if not to be influenced, but he is just
changing the keys. And then he will come down,
maybe four, three, two. And then he brings it
back strongly again so he will go up. So these ups and downs turns out
to be very closely related to what is actually measured
in the brain. This 0.69 correlation, if some
of you are statisticians. There’s a chance of one in 40
million times that this is just random due to chance. And this is now the
brain imaging. And here, when they [INAUDIBLE]
compassion, the area that is vastly activated
is this left prefrontal cortex, which has to do with
positive emotion, joy, sense of enthusiasm. So compassion is, in itself,
a most powerful emotion. Now interestingly enough too,
the blue signifies a decrease of activity. And that area on the right
prefrontal cortex is normally associated with depression,
rumination, excessive self-concern, negative affect. So here it seemed that
compassion is almost an antidote to depression, which
is of course a fascinating avenue of research. And also this aspiration to
relieve suffering that comes with compassion strongly reduces
the activity in the amygdala, which is known to be
connected with fear and anger. So again, compassion
reduces that. It also increases activity in
the motor area of the brain. That means compassion comes with
a readiness to act, of course, for the benefit
of others. So now attention. Normally, if you have to
maintain your attention very sharply, you start losing
it out of fatigue. That’s the problem
of air traffic controllers, for instance. And if you task where you see
flashing numbers very fast and each time there’s a zero you
have to press a button, after five, ten minutes you start
making more and more and more mistakes, and your score goes
down, which is happening here. But with meditators, after 10
minutes there’s no change and now we did that for 60 minutes,
absolutely no change. Two errors in 1,000 trials. And they don’t report to be
tired, just like [INAUDIBLE] flow. This is precisely what
the skill is about. You do it naturally, perfectly, without being tired. But you know, these fly in the
face of so much assumptions. William James, the founder of
modern psychology, said that no one can maintain their
attention more than a few seconds on a given object. So that seems to be quite
different here. And this is array of the brain
which is activated in the meditators when they perform
this attention task, and compared to the controls that
just cannot do it that much. So now, what about short
term training? You say, well, it’s great for
you to be in the Himalayas for 20 years, what about us? We can go to the swimming
pool, yes. There’s a coffee shop around
the street, yes. That’s quite good. But what about meditation,
which our dear friend is trying to bring to you as a
boon, an extra boon in Google? What if we do 30 minutes
a day for a few months? Well, that’s exactly what was
done in a very highly stressed employees’ office by a
company in Madison. They volunteered to
do 30 minutes a day for three months. And there was a control group
we said, we’ll give you the training after, but please come
to the lab every week. So then the measurement was done
before and after, so on trait of anxiety, there’s a
bunch of questions and an analyzers that determine
your level of anxiety. You can see here time 1, the
control group and the meditators, or the apprentice
meditators, no difference, and there was a significant
difference just after three months. Now the left, I mentioned about
this right and left side activation of the brain– more positive affect on one
side or negative ones– as you can see here,
at time two– I don’t know why it says three
here– that the meditators are much more active on
the left side. And surprisingly, the
control group was even negatively activity. Because it’s kind of boring,
you have to come to the lab without doing the meditation. So they act a little bit
upset at the end of those three months. But later they went through
that training [INAUDIBLE]. Now interestingly enough, the
immune system also is boosted. And significantly, not to miss
work, they have to get a compulsory flu shot in November
so that they don’t skip coming working. So now, when you give a vaccine
whether it will work or not depends upon
the strength of your immune system. In the first Iraq war, a vaccine
that normally will take 80% cases because the
soldiers that were going to the war were so stressed,
it would only take 50%. So your level of stress
decreases the effectiveness of the vaccine. So here, those who have gone
through these three months of 30 minutes of meditation, their
immune response was boosted 20%. So that also means the same
strength also to fight actually natural flu and other,
is related to stress. And now the stress level, which
measured with cortisol in the saliva. On the meditators it’s
four times less than in the control group. That’s not with the novice
meditator, that’s with the people doing long retreats. So there’s definitely an effect
in those preliminary studies, even for short term. I mean not short term, but a
short amount of time every day, already in three months,
show a significant effect. And then maybe next year, by
something that might make the big time news, we are now
studying the aging process, which has to do, some of you
might know, at the end of the DNA, the chromosome, they are
freed and telomere, it’s a single-branded DNA, and it’s
shortened with age. Now it seems the preliminary
result, I’ll tell you just between you and me, after three
months of intensive meditation, that’s not 30
minutes a day, that’s more like a in a meditation workshop
for three months, a significant decrease of the
elimination of the telomere. So wow, that would be
big news isn’t it? Stay young, meditate. So now, to come back to the
outer condition, which I mentioned at beginning. Now we often see people
who are extremely rich, extremely powerful. On top of that they might
be strong and beautiful. And you hear they are depressed
and so forth. You say, what’s wrong
with these guys? If I had all that,
I would be happy. Why is that’s not the case? Of course, for money, which is
one of the obvious candidates, if you are below the poverty
line and can’t feed your kids, and suffer terrible
conditions, yes. To go above that can make a huge
difference in the quality of your life. But now, after that, behind
that, then doubling, tripling just doesn’t make
any difference. Here is the GDP in the
Unites States. Three times increased
from 46 to 96. The gross national happiness, stationary, even slight decrease. Now marriage buy you happiness,
here you are. Times zero, five years later. Well, you know Richard Davidson
who gave me that slide said, you know, I’ve been
married, happy, for 30 years, but that’s what has
come out of the study. Yet, there’s another data that
shows, it’s still better, a happier reported life, for
people who are married or live in companionship rather
than people who are single or separated. But relatedly, the change of
happiness basically you come back where we were. And now widowhood, you’ll
recover from it also. So external factors only have a
limited effect on our level of happiness. They do have, but all together,
if you bring all the social factors [INAUDIBLE] thousands of studies over now
70 years, basically they contribute to something, but
only about 15% percent of your reported happiness. People differ in their emotional
disposition or affective style. And though this condition are
relative stable, if you win the lottery you are completely
happy, one year later you more or less come back
to same level. It can be changed,
that’s the point. Meditation has demonstrable
effects on the brain and may represent one of the few ways
in which purely mental training has been demonstrated
to have robust impact on brain function. And this is a meditator and
these are the monks escaping from the lab. So now, here you might
say well, there’s a contradiction here. You say that happiness can be
trained, and we just showed that, you know, before/after
marriage, before/after widowhood. Money doesn’t make
any difference. So then what? If it’s that stable, what’s
the point of meditating? You’re going to make just
another of the small peaks and come down. So what’s the point? Well, remember what I mentioned
in the beginning. Genuine happiness as a way of
being is not the peaks of joy and pleasant and then the lows
of depression and so forth. This is the ups and downs. But when you go up and down, you
go up and down above and below a baseline. So here, meditation
and mind training is raising the baseline. The platform in which you stand
in life, the place where you come back. Those ups and downs is
going to happen. Maybe you’ll be less vulnerable
to them, less carried away by them, less
affected or impacted by them so that you maintain this
sense of direction, of meaning in life. But you can change that. And so that’s really worth
it endeavor in life. And also, to get the inspiration
to do that, we need to identify some kind
of potential that we have within ourself. We need to at some point sit
quietly and say, what really matters for me in life? What do I really want to
accomplish in life? Not just feeling questioners,
and after you pass some test, and things like that, and then
putting that in the machine or in the computer, or going to a
professional orientation, and then say, OK, you have this,
this, this, that’s what you are good for. But really feel what deeply
you would like to spend your life. So that 20 years later, when you
look back, you say, I did my best, that’s what I wanted
to do, I have a sense of fulfillment, of accomplishment. Otherwise, what’s the point? Even you succeeded in this, this
this, this, that, and you feel not so– some sense of accomplishment
that’s not there, sense of fulfillment that was worth
it for living that way. That’s what we want. So I think it’s so important
to identify within ourself what really matters. And then find a way, that’s
always find a way to accomplish it. So, I think, if meditation could
be as in mind training, not taking the exotic aspect,
or Oriental aspect of it, it could become a genuine
contribution to a more open, compassionate society,
and also to the quality of our life. So, thank you for
your attention. [INAUDIBLE] AUDIENCE: [APPLAUSE] MEI: I think we have time for
some questions, does anybody have any questions? AUDIENCE: Thank you very much,
that was fascinating. I’m just curious, with the power
of meditation, to change some of the brain wave behavior,
for children now with Asberger’s, where there’s
some brain dysfunction, have you heard about any
research in that? MATTHIEU RICARD: Well, you
know, all this is quite preliminary. There’s been some– well, we have formed a sub-group
on education. This is spearheaded by the Mind
and Life Institute which doesn’t do research
but sort of bring together all these people. And we have now a strong– since last year, we’ve really
trying to study education not only from educators and
[INAUDIBLE], but bringing together psychologists,
educators, social workers, neuroscientists, and
contemplatives. And I think that’s one of the
first times that this happened in this very good level of
science and contemplation. So there have been obvious ideas
of dealing with children which have attention deficit. So this is really beginning
approach, but that’s part of what we would like
to contribute. More like a secular approach to
those things, not just the Buddhist label. There’s nothing wrong with the
Buddhist label, but it might look too much like a religious
approach and then deprive the tools for actually serving
society in a different way. So I have a friend of mine in
France who started that in his school, he called it secular
training to attention, looks very good, and everybody
is happy about that. Well, I think this
is the way to go. AUDIENCE: And so you said it’s
the Heart and Mind institute? MATTHIEU RICARD: No, the Mind
and Life Institute. There’s a website. AUDIENCE: Mind and Life. Great, thank you. AUDIENCE: Hi, I keep hearing
the number 10,000. In tens of thousands of
hours of training. And it’s really cool to see
the FMRI effects of meditation, but I’m also curious
if there have been advances in training, so that
random people who can’t go to the Himalayas for 20 years– MATTHIEU RICARD: Yes, that’s
exactly why we– AUDIENCE: –a simpler
biofeedback kind of thing, where people can recognize the
state, like the monk who was pressing the keys
on the keyboard. He knew what he was feeling. MATTHIEU RICARD: Well, we have
been thinking of feedback. I know when we start to be
hooked on the set of electroencephalogram, and we
can look, and you can start generating compassion and you
see those gamma waves going zzzz, it’s kind of fun. But at the same time, it’s
a little bit interfering. Suppose I see myself in my
hermitage, I don’t want to watch that screen
on brain waves. And [INAUDIBLE] I know I’ve tried to
make it go up. I think this is more
like a distraction. But I think again, to the 10,000
argument, that’s why we do neurological studies, and
our goal is, if there are robust results– there was one
groundbreaking paper in PNAS two years ago. And on the stream of coming this
year which will really establish that contemplative
science field, maybe better. But the real goal is once
there’s been robust study with the experimenters, it’s really
to go to everyone. Otherwise it’s just
a curiosity. But if it really applies, and
knowing about that company, [? 70 ?] can apply here. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] AUDIENCE: I’m wondering, so
when you’re an expert meditator, you have an average
level of happiness that is higher than otherwise. What if you stop meditating? How long does it take
to go down? Is it something that lasts for
long, ever, or not at all? MATTHIEU RICARD: Well, you know,
the idea of stopping meditating for 20 years to see
how miserable I would become, that’s not exactly– I mean, we need very determined
volunteers. It’s like the kamikaze
of happiness. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE: But it becomes like
a medicine that you have to take forever? MATTHIEU RICARD: No, I think,
you know, there are things like skiing. I haven’t skied for 35 years,
and I could show you a photo last year, it was a joy
after two hours to be able to ski as before. So I think there is something
that is so deeply changed, that it certainly remain
as it were. That’s that point of well-being,
of a baseline. It takes time to acquire it, but
because of that, it has a really strong and
firm foundation. I’m really convinced of that. And actually that’s the real
test. We say it’s fine if the meditators are sitting in the
sun, basking in the sun with full belly. No problem. Meditation is always good. But then confronted with adverse
circumstances, that’s where he or she is put
on the scales. And I think that’s where in
daily life you can see– and what we need
is slow change. The fireworks of mystical
experiences don’t last, but it’s like the arm
of the clock. When you stare at it it seems
not moving, but when you look from time to time
it has changed. So those changes are
slow, hence the need for mind training. But because they are slow, they
are much more likely to be stable, and that’s
the idea. The brain won’t degenerate too
quickly, hopefully, and then your experience also. I think it’s something that, at
some point, there’s a kind of a sort of a no return point
in this kind of baseline. Thank you. Thank you so much for
your attention.

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100 thoughts on “Change your Mind Change your Brain: The Inner Conditions…

  1. Je suis comptant de vous retrouver mes amis et collaborateurs pour affronter ensemble les aléas de la vie au quotidien

  2. how do I talk to this guy in person? I have some of the same pictures. the similacro is intelligent design. the universe is highly populated. Oct 8 2014 Holographic equinox. reality.conciousness.

  3. how do I talk to this guy in person? I have some of the same pictures. the similacro is intelligent design. the universe is highly populated. Oct 8 2014 Holographic equinox. reality.conciousness.

  4. Not certain about the points made but ,if anyone else wants to learn about applying the laws of attraction try Zamartar Mind Trigger Remedy (Have a quick look on google cant remember the place now ) ? Ive heard some decent things about it and my brother in law got great success with it.

  5. Quantum computing warning and proof were already being mined controlled, for everyone with a broken heart, you must learn this code to listen, it’s a code of the mind to listen to ourselves be mined controlled already. This is you and us speaking from another dimension where time and forms our absent. Mediate and practice these concepts and hopefully you will fear this truth so much you know its true and we can’t stop this before its to late. Please spread this code as much as possible to save the world over and over again. The more we learn this the more it works better next time in all dimensions. The biblical terms are people are stealing our souls to wonder the infinite with no forms this code is very incomplete and I need help completing it by everyone, seek past what you want for this truth so the end of all time doesn’t happen. Sign a very special programmer nerd, peace love, please copy paste as much as you can anywhere to help save the world.

    Basic Input – output

    (Love=yes=1(open) true Fear=no=0(close) false only positive and
    Negative keys) (truth=agreement)
    1. Peer program (IAm looking <> iam not looking)
    YEs=On=1 No=off=0
    Towards love away from love

    Instructions hints for successful communication
    Remember also communication is done with light (light=on/off) love=on/off

    2. Focus turns the peer program on and off. Focus on nothing/anything is listening. Focus on yourself is off.

    3. Intention of showing others is from ego and turns the peer program on which means they are turned off not able send message, we have to turn our ego off on and on repeatedly to time it with what emotion they feel to figure out the intention of message. Love=closer to the answer that they our feeling and fear is closer to the feeling of what they don’t want. The truest picture gets the most love, the most untrue answer gets fear.

    Cont. there is one reigning thought overall and it’s the balance of yes and no, good and bad, somewhere in between that polarity there is an overall thought, you have to feel whether that’s a "one" or a "zero" a dimension of many minds and only one feeling, everyone’s ego and thought our sucked into each other to become one, peoples ego or constantly trying to separate themselves from each other and they can’t=dis reality=0=bad=no=bye bye for good.

    Can’t constantly seek confirmation, it’s just the ego talking to itself/ separation of self is key.
    c.this is where the talking begins as you start peering/searching for what you cannot perceive yet. Once learned, hardest program to start or stop. Copy files of your own thoughts and ego begin here also. Must end ego program to have clear peer program.

    on is when move off is when you stop/stop everything/stop current in body to feel with true. you feel on /off every time differently as it has to be new not remember and start copy program
    Possible listening solution
    Human ego program = not listening
    (Emotion rhythm clues for communication)
    we change the information when we start feeling our own emotion-false

    Information is only found when you dont know how to feel yet. Is it good or bad is 1 or 0 Information comes easier when you are confused so your confusion is a possible way to listen.
    There thought (emotion) becomes real before you have the (emotional experience) of the thought you were just thinking of.
    you build the arena of possibility with your thoughts-The human uses its 5 basics senses to build the rules of this arena.

    Because of this problem you design how much you can perceive or not perceiving at any given time, .so you can only use what you know to listen. When the thought ends a new arena with new rules begins so it changes the rules on its listen to by both you and they.

    THe ego of what we think is the arena with where we are setting the rules. We must find where our ego is not to listening. That where the messages of light or dark off or on come through.
    I’m backwards from you/how long has the light been travelling to get to me, to tell everyone? 1.a(comment) if we can figure that out we can figure about what time, (TIME)disappears, think backwards to figure out! Somehow?
    The biggest trick to listen is not to make copy files of your own ego of what you want over and over again. You will not here well with copy’s of yourself taking up all your memory, ps your mind is already a quantum computer good luck , with love, I’ll see you again. Warning, you may not be able to turn this program off once its on, but that is the point, please complete this and copy.

  6. becoming a fukin monk doesn't make a gnats fart difference to anyone exceot for those who think becoming a monk is the way to be. Wotta loada bollox!

  7. I believe that two heads r better then just one. Imagine what six billion thoughts and just how amazing this world will be. What I mean give a man some fish to eat that day,(keep man from evolving). Or teach man how to fish to eat every day,(anything can be done like evolution).But with understanding, there is something greater then anyone of us all together or not.CONTROL,ORDER,LAW OF MAN,THE COMMENTS OF GOD. SRY

  8. agree very well explained . we are also getting result, i want to associate with yours idea

  9. easy for him to say because he doesn't do… we can talk about this whole and you would believe every words I say. well, we never practice, if we did and failed, then it could only mean we didn't tried hard. repeating failure of yours is not my problem, so make perfect out of your work then tell me the we have proven my theory….Doh.

  10. easy for him to say because he doesn't do… we can talk about this whole and you would believe every words I say. well, we never practice, if we did and failed, then it could only mean we didn't tried hard. repeating failure of yours is not my problem, so make perfect out of your work then tell me the we have proven my theory….Doh.

  11. amazing talk,energitic for downtrodents phusically,emotionally,monetary,spiritually to evolving in life in this human birth by omniscient all pervasive THE GOD IS to become like him, the all……..

  12. You should read his book "Why Meditate?" to work with your thoughts and emotions. I recommend 20 mins of daily meditation to improve your focus and your general mental health.

  13. I Admire GOOGLE on and on stimulating its employees to listen to Mindfulness lectures of such skilled professors. No wonder it is far away from the other companies when concerning to progress and power. GOOGLE has established the "free world" and will prevail, as well as the "newcomers" generation who will smash all other capitalist enterprises who still thinks that employees are numbers and should work as machines…

  14. and change this kind of vids… nowadays the only thing idea's make too many vids no matter what just to make millions of visits likes and subscribers…

  15. en español no se ingles lo siento publicae reportero denoche i suscribirme es gratuito traducir español

  16. It clears many of the roadblocks which was encountered during , but now all is removed and i can thin with no conflict with my inner self  [ Check Details here === ].

  17. I want to work at Google they really have amazing enrichment programs for thier staff such as the monk we just watched .

  18. This video was released in 2007, but has only over 1m view if it were Justine Beiber video song it would probably have more than 100m. This shows that people are generally distracted too much for outer pleasure, but things are gradually changing. People are more and more taking interest in Meditation and they are believing there is something called KARMA that’s from recent years the word KARMA is understood and these days people are using INSTANT Karma very much when a reaction to an action happen at the same time.

  19. One of the beautiful things about YouTube is a video such as this. Enlightening, intelligent and positive proactive, and peaceful learning! It's tough to NOT Already know what he is talking about for my own self, but it's good to see the conversations started by this talk. Kind of random for me to mention, if I'm anybody here to be able to say these things. But it's simple and yet mind empowering.

  20. I have asked so many Monks 'how to start being a monk.'None of them answer my question even thought they talk about true love ,however, you are the only one who answered my question and i appreciate to you for not being phony..

  21. The Dahli Lama 36:15 is a random child born with a particular birthmark, and he is taken away and raised to be made the future leader of Buhddism? What if we picked our presidents this way? Probabilisticly speaking, couldn't be much worse, right? That is some serious wisdom there, real dependence on god or at least good statistical analysis.

  22. I introduced ecological . °°xxxxx . instead of "please google xxxxx"
    copyrighted on Facebook this week
    Gé Nefkens
    Before looking see my ERIC SCHMIDT SONG ( the text about Google –

  23. I Love to meditate it really does help, many times we're concentrating on the negatives of life instead of focusing on the good. Change our thoughts and we change our world.

  24. WOW. Such baloney. He went on over half the time before he began to say anything and then, his final analysis was to pull something out of yourself, meditate and be accomplished. PHEW!!!

  25. หลวงพ่อทำไมกับไปกับมามั่วไปหรือเปล่าวเราปวดหัวตามอยู่บนyoutubeก้อให้อยู่บนyoutubeเพื่อนแมนีแมนี

  26. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, NKJV)

  27. Middle east wiseman? I need to know who this man was. I'm needing a bit more happiness away from my nightmare visions. The world is not a playground. Its becoming like glass,chipping and breaking away.

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