“Ricard sees living a good life, and showing compassion, not as a religious edict revealed from on high, but as a practical route to happiness.”
A French genetic scientist may seem like an unusual person to hold the title – but Matthieu Ricard is the world’s happiest man, according to researchers.
The 66-year-old turned his back on Parisian intellectual life 40 years ago and moved to India to study Buddhism. He is now the happiest man on earth, a close crony of the Dalai Lama, and respected western scholar of religion.
Shortly after suiting up, Ricard began meditating on compassion and his brain’s gamma wave production went off the chart. Activity in his left pre-frontal cortex also raised, relative to the right half, indicating a sizable increase in the capacity for happiness and an unlikeliness for negativity.
The changes were directly related to improvements in consciousness, attention, learning and memory.
The study also watched other monks and found that those with more than 50,000 rounds of meditation showed significant changes in their brain function, noting that even those with only three weeks of 20-minute meditation per day demonstrated some change.