I’m in the middle of reading “The Mind’s Own Physician – A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation,” and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. The co-editors are Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD., and Richard Davidson, PhD., with Zara Houshmand. As Davidson explains on his website , the book explores “the intersection between ancient meditation techniques and modern neuroscience. The result is a fascinating and revealing conversation about the potential of the human mind to heal itself through mindfulness meditation…”
Having been a regular meditator for years, I’ve watched with great interest as the scientific community has studied, and ultimately endorsed, this age old ancient healing practice. Richard Davidson, the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been a leader in the new field of “contemplative neuroscience,” or the study of the meditating brain and its long term effects. Davidson and his colleagues have shown that repeated meditation, as a sustained practice, can have permanent, beneficial effects on the brain. Meditation can strengthen the brain centers responsible for generating positive emotions and empathy and maintaining concentration.
This transformative book, part of the series of Dialogues from the Mind & Life Institute, really merges the fields of healing, science, and spirituality in the most uplifting way. There are fascinating studies about the brain’s ability to heal itself, how meditation can influence pain, and the long term effects of cultivating compassion. It all gives me great hope for our ability to heal ourselves as individuals and to change our world through mindfulness.