Developing a “Buddha Brain” Through Gratitude

Developing a “Buddha Brain” Through Gratitude

What role does gratitude play in developing a “buddha brain” and why?

A ”buddha brain” is one that knows how to be deeply happy, loving, and wise. We develop ourselves in this way by cultivating wholesome qualities and uprooting unwholesome ones. In a sense, we plant flowers and pull weeds in the garden of the mind – which means that we are gradually changing the brain for the better.

Gratitude is a powerful tool in this “garden” since what you rest your attention upon is what will shape your brain the most. That’s because “neurons that fire together, wire together.” Gratitude shifts your attention away from resentment, regret, and guilt – and therefore stops you from building up the neural substrates of these known factors of mental and physical health problems. Gratitude also focuses your awareness on positive things, simple good facts such as having enough water to drink, the laughter of children, the kindness of others, or the smell of an orange.

To reap the rewards of gratitude, rest your attention on a good fact, noticing details about it, staying with it for at least a few seconds in a row. Then allow a natural emotional response of gratitude to arise. Continue to pay attention to this feeling of gratitude for another few seconds – or even longer: it’s delicious! Taking these few extra seconds will help you weave gratitude into the fabric of your brain and your Self. And you can practice gratitude both on the fly, as you move through your day, and at specific occasions, such as at meals or just before bed.

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How do you practice gratitude in your daily life? Let me know in the comments!

  • Kathy Holzapfel
    Posted at 05:06h, 20 March

    Sometimes the word “practice” makes me feel it has to be a formal ritual, that I might not have time for in a moment. But your comment about practicing gratitude “on the fly” reminds me that I can perform/fling out tiny acts of gratitude spontaneously.

    One way that I practice gratitude daily, is in my conscious tweeting about good stuff/great blogs I read in the morning. 🙂

  • Laurence Woods
    Posted at 12:31h, 20 March

    I practice gratitude in the exact way you describe. Choosing to focus on the small, simple things like smiling and saying hello to folks I pass on the street. It is truly amazing how good it feels to smile and it usually elicits the same from others. Thank you for explaining this so perfectly. Late last year I underwent brain surgery to correct seizures. Since then gratitude has taken over my life in the most wonderful way. You have just explained everything in such an amazing way.

  • Julian Goetz
    Posted at 05:44h, 20 August

    I start with whatever I’m thinking about at the time. Even if it’s painful, it still means you are alive and capable of loving the world, which is always beautiful to me. And other times, I just watch this video over and over:

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