A few weeks ago I linked to a presentation by Matthieu Ricard about how to be happy. He’s a Buddhist monk who participates in research into how meditation affects the brain with Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin. This documentary is about that research. It’s also a good introduction to Buddhism.
Dr. Davidson tells me that the emergence of positive emotions may be due to this: Mindfulness meditation strengthens the neurological circuits that calm a part of the brain that acts as a trigger for fear and anger. This raises the possibility that we have a way to create a kind of buffer between the brain’s violent impulses and our actions.