Neurodharma Book Summary - Neurodharma Book explained in key points
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Neurodharma summary

Rick Hanson

New Science, Ancient Wisdom, and Seven Practices of the Highest Happiness

4.4 (243 ratings)
29 mins
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    There are seven ways of being that form the basis of true awakening.

    If you’ve ever hiked up a mountain, you know how tough it can be. Not only is it physically exhausting, there are also obstacles and challenges along your way to the top. 

    Well, that’s what it’s like when achieving happiness, wisdom, and strength – qualities the author refers to as the “heights of human potential.” 

    We may all want to reach these heights – the metaphorical top of the mountain – but to get there, we have to tread a path of awakening first. 

    Here’s the key message: There are seven ways of being that form the basis of true awakening. 

    Many religious or spiritual traditions have their own versions of how to climb the mountain to happiness. But all of them seem to follow the same seven steps – steadiness, lovingness, fullness, wholeness, nowness, allness, and timelessness. Mastering these seven ways of being leads to enlightenment – otherwise known as full awakening.

    Developing a greater sense of fullness, wholeness, or any other aspect of awakening involves three kinds of practice: Let be, let go and let in. Let’s take a look at these one by one.

    First up, let be.

    When you start on your path to enlightenment, you may notice a number of thoughts and emotions rising within you. Learning to let be means accepting these feelings as they come, and allowing yourself to feel them wholeheartedly.

    Next up is let go, which means releasing what is painful or harmful. This can take the form of easing tension in your body, venting negative thoughts, or distancing yourself from desires that hurt you or others.

    Last is let in. Once you’ve removed any negative thoughts or emotions, you can replace them with something positive. For instance, you could focus on developing new skills if you’ve not done well on a project, or on becoming more grateful and resilient after receiving negative feedback.

    Think of it this way: If your mind is like a garden, you can pull out the weeds and plant flowers in their place.

    So developing the seven ways of being requires that you experience feelings openly, accept them, and let them be. When you do this, you train yourself to be more mindful, loving, and content. 

    In the following blinks, we’ll take a look at how to practice these seven steps to enlightenment in our everyday lives. But first, let’s take a look at the neuroscience behind awakening, and how we can rewire our brains to improve our well-being. 

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    What is Neurodharma about?

    Neurodharma (2020) offers a road map for achieving true happiness and fulfillment. Drawing on the ancient practices of Buddhism and modern neuroscience, author Rick Hanson outlines seven ways of being that can help you be more calm, compassionate, and present in the moment. He also gives practical tips and strategies for how to use meditation to improve overall well-being and effectiveness. 

    Best quote from Neurodharma

    Neurodharma is the truth of the mind grounded in the truth of the body.

    —Rick Hanson
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    Who should read Neurodharma?

    • Anyone wanting to cultivate inner peace and tranquility
    • Meditators seeking to expand their practice
    • People curious about the neurology behind our thoughts and emotions

    About the Author

    Dr. Rick Hanson is a psychologist and meditation teacher. He’s also the Senior Fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and the founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. A New York Times best-selling author, his other books include Buddha’s Brain (2009), Hardwiring Happiness (2014), and Resilient (2018). 

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