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Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 50, Number 1 (Winter 2004)

Penn, Michael
The science of happiness,   pp. 34-39


Page 34

r( n IT i d C., nfn 
The Scie 
Neuroscientist Richard 
Davidson is proving that we 
can harness our emotions 
to improve our mental and 
physical well-being. His 
groundbreaking discoveries 
have involved bringing 
Buddhist monks- 
including his good friend, 
the Dalai Lama-into his 
UW-Madison lab. 
T LEAST THREE TIMES A WEEK when the weather cooperates, 
Richard Davidson climbs onto the saddle of a sleek racing bike 
Rand heads to a path near his Madison home. He rides out of the 
city to a point where the road extends like a silvery thread across the prairies
and cornfields of south-central Wisconsin, off toward not-so-distant places
like Fitchburg and Mount Horeb. For many cyclists, this thin line of asphalt
represents transportation or recreation. But to Davidson, it's something
more. 
The destination he pedals toward is more ethereal-and much harder to 
reach-than Fitchburg. 
He rides fast, with his legs churning 
in an unrelenting rhythm, zipping along 
at a pace that demands constant atten- 
tion and reaction. He doesn't think 
about where he's going. He doesn't 
think about where he's been. He tries 
not to think at all. 
And somewhere on that road he hits 
it: that perfect awareness of the here 
and now, where everything else-the 
demands of being one of the nation's top 
neuroscientists, the pressing problems 
in his lab, the mounting piles of mes- 
sages from journalists and others who 
want to talk to him-slips away and 
there is just the road, the bike, and the 
roaring wind in his ears. 
34  WINTER  2004  WI S CONSIN  ACAD 
J 
E MY  R EV IE W 


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