Matthieu Ricard is the happiest man in the world, according to science. And this is official, according to a 2007 study by Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin. Davidson said that Ricard’s brain produced gamma waves at levels that were “off the charts”.
His secret? Meditation.
“Meditating is like lifting weights or exercising for the mind. Anyone can be happy by simply training their brain.” – Matthieu Ricard
In Davidson’s study, long-term meditators showed significant changes in brain function after 10,000 hours. Even those who meditated for 20 minutes a day over only three weeks also showed changes.
“The important thing with mind training is that you change your own base line. This is very different from the temporary sensation of feeling good that you might experience when you watch a film. What you have to do is raise that base line.” – Matthieu Ricard
Who is the happiest man in the world
Ricard was born in 1946 and grew up in Paris. He obtained a PhD in molecular genetics from the Institut Pasteur in 1972. Not satisfied with the intellectual life, he moved to Darjeeling, India. There, he studied under Tibetan master Kangyur Rinpoche, in the ancient Nyingma tradition of Buddhism.
Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree. It completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are.” – Matthieu Ricard
Ricard has been a monk since he was 30. He lives at the Schechen monastery in Nepal, and acts as French interpreter and advisor to the Dalai Lama. For his work in preserving Himalayan culture, he was awarded the French National Order of Merit. He currently divides his year into isolated meditation, scientific research, and travelling.
“Happiness is a skill. It requires effort and time.” – Matthieu Ricard
If you want to start acquiring this happiness skill, you can start with a simple one minute meditation everyday. Who knows, you may be the next happiest man in the world!