Buddha’s Brain Summary

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Buddha’s Brain Summary by Mind Map: Buddha’s Brain Summary

1. 1-Sentence-Summary:

1.1. Buddha’s Brain explains how world-changing thought leaders like Moses, Mohammed, Jesus, Gandhi and the Buddha altered their brains with the power of their minds and how you can use the latest findings of neuroscience to do the same and become a more positive, resilient, mindful and happy person.

2. Favorite quote from the author:

2.1. "Only we humans worry about the future, regret the past, and blame ourselves for the present." - Rick Hanson

3. 3 lessons:

3.1. One dart hurts enough. Don’t make your pain worse by dwelling on it.

3.1.1. “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” ~ Anonymous

3.1.2. We experience discomfort on two levels. The first level feels like being struck by a dart. It’s a sudden rush of pain, for example from an accident, a disappointed expectation, failure or rejection. This kind of pain is normal, we all have to face it in our lives, and there’s not much we can do about it. Most of the time we make it worse by throwing a second dart at ourselves, based on how we physically and mentally react to the first dart. For example, when you crash with your bike, you might curse at the person that blocked your view, blame the shitty tarmac, or not instantly go to the hospital because you have an important meeting. All of these add suffering to the pain you already have, but are entirely in your control. You don’t have to do any of these. 99% of the time the second darts are a lot worse than the first ones, because we keep throwing them long after the first dart has vanished

3.1.3. Life throws enough darts at you as is, so don't throw more at yourself

3.2. Quit the eternal rat race for more by practicing composure every day.

3.2.1. When people ask you you to “keep your composure”, they often expect you to not act out your feelings. An example:

3.2.2. But composure doesn’t mean hiding your feelings. When you’re composed you stay with and experience your feelings just long enough to let them sink in, without developing a permanent reaction to them. Doing your victory dance is just fine. When you instantly start to think about what’s next, that’s when it gets problematic.

3.2.3. Composure is a circuit-breaker. It allows you to cut the connection between “I feel good about this” and “I need more of it” or “I feel horrible about this” and “I must avoid this forever”.

3.2.4. Practice true composure by noticing when you feel particularly good or bad and then taking a short moment to just stay with the feeling for 20-30 seconds. This allows you to let it sink in, while at the same time accepting that it’s okay as it is, without instantly chasing the next thing in your head.

3.3. Reduce the suffering in your life by not identifying with so many things.

3.3.1. What do buddhist monks and death-row prison inmates have in common? They let go of their sense of self. At both ends of the spectrum, ultimate enlightenment and inevitable death, letting go replaces all suffering with peace, fulfillment and acceptance.

3.3.2. But, a strong sense of self is important. Assert yourself and your right to be happy. Who you think you are gives you continuity in life and helps you set yourself apart from other people. Leaving everything behind and living alone in the woods isn’t the solution.

3.3.3. Simply tame your sense of self by not identifying with so many things. Every time you put the word “I” or “my” in a sentence with something, you make its fate your own. Since everything in the world eventually comes to an end, over-identifying with things ultimately makes you feel like you face loss a lot and can thus make you depressed. For example, if you have a ton of clothes, electronic devices and material possessions, you’ll say “my laptop”, “my sweater”, “my TV” and “my remote control helicopter” a lot. No matter which of these breaks next, you’ll feel the pain of the first dart, so the more you have, the more darts are likely to come flying your way.

3.3.4. Imagine taking a weekend to unclutter and ending up with 30% less than you had before. That’s a lot of less “I’s” and “my’s” in your vocabulary and therefore, will help you moderate your sense of self.

4. Who would I recommend the Buddha’s Brain summary to?

4.1. The 22 year old athlete, who faces a lot of physical pain, the 41 year old housewife, who finds it hard to share feelings with her husband and anyone who has more than one phone.