Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche believes that human happiness is an inside job, an achievable state reached through intimacy with the mind's inner workings. Dubbed the happiest man on earth (a moniker he received after his brain activity was scientifically measured during meditation), he reveals the powerful effects of, and science behind, meditation in The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret &andamp; Science of Happiness. Nepal-born Mingyur Rinpoche belongs to a modern generation of young monks who have trained outside of Tibet and have cultivated a broader world perspective. His curiosity about Western advances in neuroscience and physics and their contributions to unraveling the mysteries of nature and the mind is likely traceable to his boyhood history of severe panic attacks. Through sustained meditation, Rinpoche overcame this anxiety and wanted to understand the outcome so he could help others achieve the same results. He has traveled widely in the West, pursuing his interest in neurology, cognitive study and physics and learning more about how Buddhist meditation can lead to a more joyful life.

Why are we unhappy? Rinpoche relates the Buddha's basic teaching that everyday life includes suffering. Luckily, he also reiterates the Buddha's antidote: to meet, know and clearly see the antics of mind and behavior through sitting quietly and observing. The Joy of Living wittily blends scientific knowledge and Buddhist insight to explain what the mind actually is, how it functions and the effects of meditation on the human brain. If we meditate diligently, we can change how our brain cells communicate and alter negative behavior patterns. Although not an exhaustive text, The Joy of Living skillfully connects science and the spiritual, and offers non-intimidating meditation instruction.

Those familiar with the accessible wisdom of renowned Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh will enjoy Mingyur Rinpoche's refreshing approach to meditation. For those of us who haven't meditated, here is inspiration to simply sit down and for a change not think!

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