By the longtime Guardian science journalist, a groundbreaking exploration of the science of enlightenment and mental wellness, illuminated by twin perspectives, ancient and modern: the spiritual wisdom of Siddhartha Gautama and the revelations of today’s scientists, who are confirming the Buddha’s profound insights into the human mind
In the fifth century BCE, in northern India, Siddhartha, the wandering sage who became the Buddha, developed a program, rooted in meditation and mindfulness, for mastering the mind and achieving lasting peace and contentment. Twenty-five centuries later, humans have transformed everything about our world—except our brains, which remain the same powerful yet flawed instruments possessed by our ancestors. What if the solution we seek to the psychological problems of life in the digital age—distraction, anxiety, addiction, loss of deep meaning—had already been worked out by the Buddha in ancient India? Appealing to readers of Eastern wisdom and Jon Kabat-Zinn, as well as to fans of bestsellers by Oliver Sacks and Malcolm Gladwell, acclaimed science writer and practicing Buddhist James Kingsland reveals how scientists are now unlocking the remarkable secrets of Siddhartha’s brain.
Moving effortlessly between science and scripture, Kingsland charts Siddhartha’s spiritual journey and explains how new research by leading neuroscientists and clinical psychologists—many of whom are interviewed in these pages—suggests that mindfulness practice reconfigures our brains to make us sharper, smarter, healthier, and happier, and that it can help treat stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, hypertension, and substance abuse. There have even been hints that meditation can enhance immune function, slow cellular aging, and keep dementia at bay. Featuring six guided meditations, Siddhartha’s Brain is a practical and inspiring odyssey of mind and spirit.
“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.”—Siddhartha