Friday, April 20, 2012

My New Favourite ...

So, I have a new "favourite book". It's called Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice At A Time and it's author is Rick Hanson, PhD, neuropsychologist, affiliate of the Greater Good Science Centre at UC-Berkeley, and cofounder of the Wellspring Institute of Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom.

This little book seems to have legs of it's own. It follows me from my bedside table (where I read a bit before I go to sleep), to my stationary bike (where it's actually beaten the latest Charles Todd mystery for pride of place), to the car (just in case I get caught up and have to wait at the railroad crossing), to my spirituality and practice group (where others have agreed with my positive assessment),  to the phone in the living room (where I've quoted it a couple of times to ground and comfort anxious friends).

The text is a compilation of 52 simple practices (mostly internal) divided into five segments:

  • Be Good to Yourself
  • Enjoy Life As It Is
  • Build On Your Strengths
  • Engage the World At Work and At Home
  • Be At Peace With Your Emotions     

The theory behind each practice is explained in a succinct page or two (or three) and then the "How" section clearly describes "how" to go about the practice.  Included are:

  • Taking in the good
  • Protecting your brain
  • Feeling safer
  • Relaxing anxiety about imperfection
  • Enjoying your hands
  • Taking refuge
  • Filling the hole in your heart   

As Rick explains in the introduction, the practices are deceptively simple but the truth is, when practiced regularly over time, they can actually change your brain through a process called
experience-dependent neuroplasticity. 

He goes on to say:
You can do these practices in several ways. First, you could find one particular practice that by itself makes a big difference for you. Second, you can focus on the practices within a section of the book that addresses specific needs, such as part 1 on being good to yourself if you're self-critical, or part 5 on being at peace if you're anxious or irritable. Third, you could move around from practice to practice depending on what strikes your fancy or feels like it would help you the most right now. Fourth, you could take a week for each one of the fifty-two practices here, giving yourself a transformational "year of practice".

However you go about it, I think your life could truly be changed by engaging in some of these practices. I hope you enjoy this wise little book as much as I am!

No comments: