This is a deeply inspired and connected conversation with Dr. Rick Hanson. I absolutely love his new book, Neurodharma and so much of his earlier work. We talk about the current coronavirus and the possibility that this may open us all up to new, higher ways of being. There’s so much wisdom in this one and Rick is an absolute joy to relate with and explore profound truths.

In His Own Words…

I am a psychologist and have written and taught about the essential inner skills of personal well-being, psychological growth, and contemplative practice – as well as about relationships, family life, and raising children.

My first book, Mother Nurture: A Mother’s Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships, (co-authored with my wife, Jan Hanson, M.S., L.Ac., an acupuncturist specializing in clinical nutrition, and Ricki Pollycove, M.D., an OB-GYN), was published by Penguin in 2002. Many related articles and other resources can be found at Jan and I have two adult children, and being parents has been the most fulfilling experience of our lives.

As we’ve learned so much more about the brain over the past twenty years, I’ve been deeply interested in the historically unprecedented meeting of modern neuroscience and ancient contemplative practices. With Rick Mendius, M.D., I founded the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. The Institute publishes the monthly Wise Brain Bulletin, and hosts the website.

In 2009, I wrote Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom (with Rick Mendius, M.D.; foreword by Dan Siegel, M.D.; preface by Jack Kornfield, Ph.D.). The book shows readers many effective ways to “light up” the brain circuits that relieve worry and stress, and promote positive relationships and inner peace.

My fourth book, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, was published in 2013 and became a New York Times bestseller. It shows how to tap the hidden power of everyday experiences to change your brain and your life for the better.

My book after that, Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness, was published in 2018. It explains how to use positive neuroplasticity to develop 12 vital inner strengths – such as grit, gratitude, and compassion – in order to cope with challenges, pursue opportunities, and find lasting well-being in a changing world. It’s based on my online program – the Foundations of Well-Being – an experiential journey of personal healing and growth.

My latest book, Neurodharma: New Science, Ancient Wisdom, and Seven Practices of the Highest Happiness (May 2020), is a follow-up to my first book, Buddha’s Brain. In it, I share seven practices for strengthening the neural circuitry of profound contentment and inner peace—qualities that offer essential support in everyday life while supporting the exploration of the most radical reaches of human consciousness. It is the basis for my Neurodharma Online Program, released in 2019.

I began meditating in 1974 and have studied and practiced in several traditions. At the end of 2008, I completed a nine-year term on the Board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center. A graduate of their Community Dharma Leader training program, I lead a weekly meditation group in San Rafael, California, and I’ve taught at major meditation centers around the world.

Please Consider Writing An Honest Review of What Matters Most

If you enjoyed this — or any! — episode of the What Matters Most podcast, please leave a review of the show! Reviews help boost the show in rankings, which makes it more visible… and that means more listeners! It’s a great way to spread the word about What Matters Most!

Create your review – click here!

Support Our Worldwide Mission

What Matters Most is 100% listener supported by generous pledges from people just like you.

Did this episode speak to you? Please consider pledging your support for as little as $5.00 per month… or pledge at higher levels and enjoy perks like a guided meditation audiobook, a library of Paul Samuel Dolman e-books… and more!

Full details on how to become a patron can be found at

Can’t contribute financially? Consider writing a positive review of the show at Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Thank you!

Read The Book That Inspires The Show

Paul Samuel Dolman, author, podcaster, and speaker, presents What Matters Most (the book!) a series of interview transcriptions from more than twenty inspirational Nashville and Tennessee residents with special guest journalist and author Bill Moyers.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, former Governor Don Sundquist, Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal, Grammy Award-winning entertainer Wynonna Judd, and many more share intimate and inspirational aspects of themselves.

This twentieth anniversary edition also features bonus material from thirty more notables from Tennessee, including local business owners, spiritual leaders, coaches, radio personalities, authors, and educators.