ESL and IELTS Help 4 U

Buddha’s Brain

Posted on: November 8, 2010

Buddha’s Brain is the title of a book by an American doctor, Rick Hanson, who has studied Theravada Buddhism for many years.

In his book, Rick tells us how our brains are “wired” to remember negative situations and events much more clearly than positive ones.

In other words, if you fail a test, you will remember it much longer than you will remember all the tests you passed.

If you tried to speak to a foreigner and then forgot your words and felt soooo embarrassed,  you will probably feel this same way again the next time you try to speak to a foreigner and the next time and the next.

This is important information for anyone who is trying to learn something difficult — like English. Why?

1. Learning is faster and easier when the brain can work freely. When negative experiences from the past cloud our brain, our natural learning ability is blocked.

2. When we’re studying English or trying to speak in English and we get anxious (worried is the word most native Thai speakers would use), we’re really in the past and not in the present.

3. Knowing that this anxiety is not about the present moment frees us to let it go and, when we do this, our knowledge can come forward. This is when we find we know more than we think we know!

4. There are ways to be present. Ways to bring our mind into the present and release the past. Meditation helps whether you do it by sitting for a time each day or taking a few seconds many times a day to become quiet.

In future posts I will write about some of Rick Hanson’s strategies for releasing the mind from past experiences. For now, just know that your worry is not about you and what you know but about past experience. This will free you to learn more, faster and more easily.

Have a gorgeous day!


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