Sunday, September 13, 2009


Sourced From: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 1172 Issue Longevity, Regeneration, and Optimal Health
Integrating Eastern and Western Perspectives, Pages 231 - 251, 28 Aug
2009 (Copyright © 2009 The New York Academy of Sciences):

Excellence in Being and Doing and Everyday Happiness

Daniel Brown, Psychiatry Department, Harvard Medical School, Newton, Massachusetts, USA


Western psychological research on positive psychology and Buddhism
have recently converged in their emphasis on the development of
positive states, like states of excellence and everyday happiness.
Yet, these traditions differ in their approaches to positive states,
with respect to a state-trait and doing-being distinction. Western
scientific research on peak performance emphasizes discontinuous,
time-limited peak performance states wherein individuals do things
extraordinarily well in sports and in the arts. The Eastern spiritual
traditions emphasize continuous excellence of being, in the form of
traits or character strengths. In both traditions mental imagery is a
key ingredient to excellence training. With respect to everyday
happiness, Western psychological research has focused on the role of
meaning systems in the transformation of flow states into vital
engagement in everyday life, while Buddhism stresses the role of
meditation training to gain mastery over all levels of mind that leads
to everyday happiness. Rorschach and tachistoscopic research on
advanced meditators suggests that advance meditators have gained
unusual mastery over states of mind not yet documented in the Western
psychological research on positive psychology.

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