When Davidson attached 256 sensors to Ricard's skull, he noticed that his thinking was unusually light when he was concentrating on compassion.
Buddhist Monk Found To Be The ‘Happiest Person Alive’ Shares Secret To A Happy Life
The "happiest person alive," a Buddhist monk, has revealed his formula for happiness.
The most sought-after thing on the planet is probably the secret to happiness. Some people think that love is the answer, while others think that owning a Tesla or skydiving are better options.
But anyone who has reached their life goals usually discover later that they're still not happy and that those positive emotions must originate from within.
Ironically, it only manifests itself once you stop looking for it.
Just ask Matthieu Ricard, a former scientist from France who abandoned his life and relocated to the Himalayas to become a Buddhist monk after receiving a Ph.D. in molecular genetics.
The 76-year-old, who meditates for hours on end, was named the "happiest person alive" following a humorous study conducted by the University of Wisconsin.
The monk's skull was connected to 256 sensors by neuroscientists, and they learned from this that during meditation, Ricard's brain produced gamma waves at previously undisclosed levels linked to consciousness, attention, learning, and memory.
The scans also revealed abnormally high activity in the left prefrontal cortex of his brain compared to the right, indicating that he has a heightened potential for happiness and the opposite for negativity.
In other words, he has some knowledge of the key to a happy existence, and with his practices in mind, he is more than pleased to impart his knowledge to the rest of humanity.
Back when he spoke to Business Insider at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, he emphasized how crucial it is to cease thinking selfishly.
He said: "It's not the moral ground. It's simply that me, me, me all day long is very stuffy.”
"And it's quite miserable because you instrumentalize the whole world as a threat, or as a potential sort of interest [to yourself]."
If you want to be happy, Ricard suggests striving for 'benevolence'.
"If your mind is filled with benevolence, you know, the passion and solidarity... this is a very healthy state of mind that is conducive to flourishing," he continued.
"So you, yourself, are in a much better mental state. Your body will be healthier, so [it] has been shown. And also, people will perceive it as something nice."
Of course, humans are hardwired to live an individualistic life in society, particularly in the western world.
Our minds are frequently racing and scanning for problems, but that doesn't mean we can't improve things with a little time and effort.
Ricard went on to say: "With mental training, we can always bring [our level of happiness] to a different level.”
"It's like running. If I train, I might run a marathon. I might not become an Olympic champion, but there is a huge difference between training and not training. So why should that not apply to the mind?”
"There is [a] view that benevolence, attention, emotional balance and resilience are skills that can be trained."
The cheerful guy himself has shown how individuals can accomplish this using a simple technique, provided they don't have a significant mental illness, in which case it's crucial to seek expert assistance.
He advises thinking cheerful thoughts for 10 to 15 minutes each day; no, we don't mean exacting revenge on your enemies.
Try to imagine doing something kind for someone else; even just recalling a happy memory from your past would do.
Long-term mental benefits from focusing on these good feelings can be attained by giving them more time than a few seconds, and results can be shown in as little as two weeks.
And if you continue in this behavior over an extended length of time, well, we saw what happened to Ricard and perhaps one day you can also call yourself the happiest person alive.