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In Conversation with Professor Richard Davidson (Ep #04)

Shannon Harvey

When I interviewed Matthieu Ricard, the world-famous French cellular geneticist-turned Buddhist monk, I remember thinking, whatever he’s on, I want some.

I was struck by how the 71-year old (whose busy schedule involves international speaking tours and writing deadlines for his best-selling books, as well as overseeing 200 humanitarian projects) could possibly juggle everything and still seem so… well... happy.

Matthieu has earned a place in popular media as the ‘happiest man on earth’ after neuroscientists published a series of seminal experiments involving his brain.

I drove home from my interview with him thinking, could it be possible for me, a stressed-out mother of two young kids, struggling with an autoimmune disease and insomnia, to get even a fraction of that kind of ever-present joy, by simply learning to train my mind?

Fast forward a few months and there I was sitting across from Professor Richard Davidson, the Director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Maddison, and one of the neuroscientists who had done those seminal brain scans on Matthieu.

I finally had a chance to get an answer to my question...

This week's podcast is my extended interview with Richie. In addition to discussing the remarkable brains of long term meditators, you'll also hear:

  • Richie's surprising response to those who say that mindfulness is being over hyped and over sold
  • An unexpected revelation about what the American Heart Association says about mindfulness
  • Why Richie is convinced that in the near future mental exercise will be as common as physical exercise

I hope you enjoy the extended interview with Richie, most of which sadly hit the cutting room floor when I made my documentary My Year of Living Mindfully.







If you have a question for my podcast, I'd love to hear from you. It might be about mindfulness, about mind-body health, preventive medicine, journalism, filmmaking or whatever else. Leave me a message on the podcast voicemail service.



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