Since my Oberlin College days I have been interested in “East Asian” philosophies and religions. I recall being intrigued by Herbert Benson’s first empirical studies of the “Relaxation response”.
Having just finished reading Michael Poore’s novel Reincarnation Blues, I now better understand some of my personal challenges engaging in habits of meditation.
I have always admired his holiness the Dalai Lama, who holds an honorary degree from Carroll COLLEGE (WI). Ah, the things things I remember that many at Carroll do not know or are unable recall since they weren’t here then:).
I have been very impressed by the research and values of Richard Davidson, who shared the evolution of his research program in a well-written, thoughtful book The Emotional Life of Your Brain. Here are some of his current activities. I have also found of value thinking about (though I have been remiss in practicing) the ideas in Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius’s Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. I truly was blessed to have opportunities to pursue each of these three things in my 41 years of teaching surrounded by bright students and colleagues.
During my last years of teaching there was an explosion of apps and software claiming to improve thinking and to optimize brain power. I was both intrigued and disturbed by attempts to popularize and capitalize on such findings and initiatives and conducted some modest research efforts to address their claims—particularly those that purported to improve memory, enhance happiness, and enhance one’s ability to focus.