It’s Here!Have a happy weekend my friends!
Peace of Mind is the most important factor for feeling grounded and achieving happiness.
What disturbs your peace of mind?
Rule #1: If you operate on likes and dislikes, you will face the consequences thereof.
A man picks up a cigarette and finds so much pleasure in it; another guy can’t stand smoking. A man goes to a lawyer to divorce his wife, and he finds great pleasure in getting rid of her; another guy is desperately waiting to marry the same lady.
This happens everywhere: The lady produces joy to one, sorrow to another. Therefore, it is not in the object or in the being—it is in how you relate to it. It’s your mind that wreaks havoc on your peace, not the external world. It is a mistake to believe that joy or sorrow is in the external world.
The mind is replete with likes and dislikes. So when you’re operating at the level of the mind, you do what you like, and you avoid what you don’t like. And when you’re dependent on your likes and dislikes, it’s miserable. For example, an Indian comes to the United States and he only likes rice and dal, but you give him pasta. What is this pasta? Meanwhile, the pasta-lover doesn’t like rice. If you operate on likes and dislikes, you’re dependent on the world. The world is in a flux of change. It can’t cater to your likes all the time. Therefore, you will be frustrated. If you only like summer, you will enjoy three months and suffer for nine. When you operate on likes and dislikes, you operate on the mind. But when you operate on the intellect, you choose the right course of action.
See, what is pleasant to you in the beginning is not so in the end. Junk food is pleasant in the beginning, but not so much in the end. You don’t like exercise, and you avoid it, but it becomes a problem later. What you like is detrimental; what you don’t like is beneficial. This is not to say that you shouldn’t do what you like—I’m only asking that you examine whether it is proper.
One Indian man heard my lecture and he went home and he looked at his wife. She said, “Why are you looking at me like that?” And he said: “I was liking you very much, but Swamiji said that I should throw out my likes and so I’m going to throw you away.”
Crazy! I didn’t say that! For heaven’s sake, don’t throw your partner away! All I said is to examine your likes and dislikes. If you don’t like exercise, you can’t just throw it away. If you like junk food, and you eat it all the time, there are consequences.
Rule #2: Know the mind has a tendency to ramble.
When I’m talking to you, it’s impossible to follow everything I say, even though you might want to follow. The mind rambles. It’s natural. It rambles into worries of the past, and anxieties for the future. That tires you. Action doesn’t tire you. Action can never tire you.
Therefore, you are making the biggest blunder by getting away from action for weekends and rest. In my entire life, I’ve never taken a vacation. Every day is vacation. At the Institution, students are in a three-year course. They’re up at 4am and we go until 9pm, 365 days a year. There are no breaks for weekends or vacations. Come and examine the students—nobody wants a break.
If you don’t find rest in action, you will never rest by getting out of action. In fact, you’re working for weekend and vacations. But if you don’t know how to control your mind and act in the present, you will always feel tired.
Do you want proof? Examine your own children. Your children are never tired. They are bristling with activity. Because of the simple fact that children have no worries of the past and anxieties for the future, they’re happy. But you all have the worries of the past and anxieties for the future, and it tires and fatigues you. So you need rest. It’s as simple as that.
Rule #3: Uncontrolled desires create havoc.
Without desires, you can’t live. You can’t survive. So what do you do with desire? You have to monitor and control your desires, because when unmonitored, desire becomes lust, greed, and avarice.
That’s what happened in 2008—the greed mounted to the point where there was a crash, and crash after crash. But if you control your desires, it becomes an aim, an ambition, or aspiration, and that is alright. You have to watch your desires before they mount to greed.
Rule #4: Preferential attachment is deadly.
What you pass off as love is nothing but preferential attachment. And preferential attachment is deadly.
When there is love, I serve you.
When there is attachment, I look for your service; what can I get out of you?
The husband says: This is my right, I married you.
The wife says: This is my right, I married you.
It’s more a life based on rights than on duties. It’s because of preferential attachment. It’s passed off as love.
Love + Selfishness = Attachment
Attachment – Selfishness = Love
Get that straight!
I’m not against love, I’m against this deadly thing called attachment.
The home should be the center, not the boundary of your affection/love. It becomes the boundary when you can’t see anything or anyone beyond it.
When you change yourself, you change the world
You cannot change the world without changing yourself. Everyone has the ambition of changing everything except for themselves.
All the great prophets, they changed themselves, then changed the world. If you change yourself, you change the world. If you want to change your children, you need to lead by example.
There is an inscription on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in England:
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it, too, seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.
If you want to change the world, you must change yourself first.
By practicing VedantaVedanta is an ancient philosophy that is based on the end of the four Vedas. (It literally means “the end of knowledge.”) The scholar comes from the Vedanta Academy, a school just outside of Mumbai established by Swami A. Parthasarathy, a nearly 90-year-old guru who has been traveling the world explaining how to eradicate unhappiness for more than 60 years.
At its heart, Vedanta revolves around developing the intellect: That we are all unhappy because we drive our lives forward using only our minds, which are the seat of emotion, likes, and dislikes—we need our intellect, the seat of reason and rationality—to keep the rambling and anxiety in check.
It is simple and profound, and incredibly relevant to life today—in fact, Parthasarathy (respectfully known as Swamiji) spends most of his time working with business leaders and CEOs, who are struggling to scale companies and embrace the tenets of real leadership.
Parthasarathy is incredibly prolific and has written 10 books, dealing with everything from love versus attachment, to business and relationships, as well as mentoring his ever-expanding pool of scholars. It’s going to expand even faster, as they’ve just introduced an e-learning portal where anyone, anywhere can access 368 lectures, to be consumed over the course of three years. If you want to get a baseline understanding, he recommends that you start with four books, in this order: The Fall of the Human Intellect, The Holocaust of Attachment, Governing Business & Relationships, and The Vedanta Treatise: The Eternities.
PART ONE (it’s quite lengthy so I had to cut it into two parts) – excerpted from a talk by Swami A. Parthasarathy.
Below, an abridged version of a lecture Swamiji recently gave in Southern California that gives an overview of what Vedanta is all about.
Tonight, we are going to discuss Vedanta, a word that you won’t find in the English dictionary. Vedanta is ancient wisdom, laid down thousands of years ago. It’s made up of two words—veda and anta—which mean, respectively, knowledge and end. So the word Vedanta simply means the end of knowledge, the culmination of knowledge. It is ancient, but it is relevant in modern life—in our day-to-day living.
Now when you purchase a machine—any gadget, really—you’re given a manual for how to operate it, whether it’s a shaver or a coffee pot. If you don’t have the manual, you are in trouble. Now, you have the subtlest of machines within you—and nobody has a clue what it is. And what’s more, this machine is operating you throughout your life. There is no reference to it in school or universities. Nowhere are you taught what it is, or how it operates in your life. Even the most intelligent people have no clue.
And therefore we get into all sorts of problems. And problems, problems, and more problems. For the last 60 years, I’ve been listening to only problems.
It’s interesting because a human being is a masterpiece of creation—but a human being has all the problems. Look at the animal world: No problems at all. And that is because all creatures are protected by nature. But humans…humans do what they like—exactly what they like. Have you found one zebra in the animal planet that is overweight or underweight? One impala? They all have the same weight. Because nature takes care of them.
But no two people are the same—some are underweight and some are overweight—because nature does not take care of humans. Why has this happened? Well, as I said, a human is a masterpiece, so nature has left it to us to handle our own lives. It’s exactly like when your son or daughter reaches the age of 18 and you hand over the finances and tell them to operate on their own. They are grown-up, they can handle their affairs. Similarly, nature leaves us to ourselves because we have been provided with an intellect.
We get to do what we want. But we sure have messed it up. Because here is the rub: There is nothing in the world that can disturb you except yourself. You are the architect of your fortune and the architect of your misfortune. You can entertain yourself, and you can also disturb yourself.
Vedanta deals with the subject of YOU, and your life.
How do you define your life?
Your life is a series of experiences. That’s your life. That’s my life. A stream of experiences, just as water flowing is a river. Your experiences flowing, one after another: That is life.
So what is an experience? It consists of two factors. You and the world. You alone cannot have an experience—for example, in deep sleep you don’t have an experience. The world is what you experience. So there is a subject/object relationship that brings about an experience. The subject is you. The object is the world.
When you contact the world, there is an experience. So ancient scientists went about beautifying the world and making it a better place for us all to live. I’ve seen the world evolve in the past 70 or 80 years—there’s been a phenomenal change, it’s really incredible. But as the world has been improved, human beings are not as happy or comfortable as they once were. It’s a paradox. Our ancestors were much happier. It’s a contradiction.
The world has been improved, but the individual has been neglected. We live in a beautiful world but are unable to make use of it properly. It’s like having excellent food, but no appetite.
What compels us to act?
We must continue contacting the world—action is the insignia of life, while inaction is death. You have to act. So the question is really, how do you act? The body performs the action. When I’m talking to you, it’s an action. When you are listening to me, you’re performing an action. But all that said, my body cannot come here and talk to you by itself. There is something other than the body that propels it and compels it to act. What is it? You are not taught this in school or university; you were not taught this by your parents when you were a child. No government takes up the subject. We are all left high and dry in the world without knowing that which enables us to act in the world. It’s like being blindfolded. So learn this today: You have two equipments, and one is the mind, and one is the intellect.
The mind consists of emotions. It is the seat of feeling, of likes and dislikes. You’ve been collecting likes and dislikes since childhood. The intellect, on the other hand, is for reasoning. You’ve just never bothered to deal with it.
There are three living species. Plant, Animal, and Human.
A plant has only a body; it has no mind and no intellect.
An animal has a body and a mind, but no intellect.
Only a human being has all three.
But human beings don’t know how to use their intellect. And you need your intellect for success and for peace, which we all want.
What is this intellect?
First, you must understand the difference between intellect and what you all know—what you all know is intelligence. Intelligence is knowledge.
Intelligence is just information you gain from your predecessors. You gain intelligence from external agencies like teachers and textbooks, from schools and universities. That knowledge and information provide you with intelligence. No amount of intelligence can make up the intellect. It is impossible. They are on two different wavelengths.
So you have intelligence and you’re making a living off of it. And you’re complacent. You have a good business. You have this, you have that. Let’s talk about that.
You have a pen. And you leave it behind today. Are you going to drive back and get it? Probably not, it’s just a pen.
Let’s say you leave your wristwatch here. You’re going to call the hotel and give a description and ask them to keep it safe so you can come and pick it up.
Let’s say you have your wristwatch and you go out to the parking lot and your car is missing. What is the loss of a car to you?
Let’s say the car is there, and you drive home and your new beautiful, fully paid-off home has burned to the ground. What is the loss of a house to you?
Let’s say you drive home and your friend calls you to tell you that your wife and two children have met with a fatal accident. What is the loss of family to you?
Draw the line from the loss of a pen to the loss of your family and then find out where you stand. No amount of intelligence is going to help you tackle that problem. If you are buckling after the loss of a wristwatch, or the loss of a car, and it is causing you sleepless nights, that’s a pretty bad state. No amount of intelligence is going to help you handle your affairs. You need an intellect to help you handle the faculties of the mind, for it is the mind that troubles you and destroys your peace. It is nothing else. You must know how to deal with your mind.
The only real value of intelligence is to help you make a living. You might go to medical school to gain the knowledge of medicine so that you can make a living. Same with engineering school, or law school. But all animals make a living without going to university.
Millions of doctors have passed through medical school, but one guy found out how to transplant a kidney, one guy found the cure for tuberculosis. How about that? Those men had intellect, besides intelligence.
So how do you develop the intellect?
You need to start developing your intellect at the age of 7, of 8, of 9. And these are the two most important points.
- Never take anything for granted.
2. Question everything.
I can prove to you that you have taken everything for granted and that you don’t question. It’s called herd instinct. You follow the herd. You follow your predecessors. You go to primary and secondary school. I ask, “Why do you go to school?” You reply, “Everyone goes to school.” You brother, your sister, your mother, your father. I ask, “Why did you get a job?” You reply: “Because after school that is what everyone does.” And then you get married and have children.
Herd instinct. I’m not saying that going to school is wrong. Or that getting married and having children is wrong. But have you thought about why you have done these things?
Here are some words from Galileo:
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
What are you working for?
So once you provide yourself with intellect, what do you do? First of all have you have to fix an ideal in life: What are you doing? What do you want? Everybody in the world is running around with no time, just running and running. But what are you all working for?
Most of you are probably working for your husband or wife and children. You are working for your family—everything else is a blur. Your home is the boundary of your affection. But it should really just be the center of affection.
With the intellect, you have to fix an ideal. And an ideal requires working beyond yourself. You can work for your family, you can work for the community, you can work for the country, you can work for humanity…you can even work for all living creatures.
The higher the ideal, the greater the initiative to work. The problem is that people don’t have ideals or a higher focus and there is no initiative for them to come to work. They work instead through incentives. You jump from company to company because they provide better perks. The boss, herself, has no initiative to work.
So you really work for perks and weekends and vacations. Thank God It’s Friday. TGIF. It’s even come to India, can you believe that?
You don’t want to work, the CEO doesn’t want to work, the manager doesn’t want to work…nobody wants to work! If you don’t find rest in action, you will never find it. You are trying to find rest by getting away from action.
But before we get to that, you are all looking for success and peace. You need the intellect for both.
What defines success?
So what is success? Success is an effect. Success belongs to the future. And what’s the cause? The cause for success is the right action. If the action is perfect, there’s success. If the action is imperfect, there’s failure.
The correct or perfect action boils down to the three C’s:
So what is concentration? I ask this question all over the world. I always get this answer: Focus! So what is focus? It’s concentration! So nobody really knows what concentration is. They go about in circles.
Think about it. It is directing the mind in one direction, toward one point. The human mind has the tendency to slip into the worries of the past or the anxieties of the future. Everybody’s mind, including mine. Concentration is keeping the mind on the present job and not allowing it to slip. This can only be achieved through the intellect—you must have a powerful intellect to keep the mind in its place.
Similarly, you have to be consistent. If Tiger Woods plays golf for one month, baseball for a second month, and football for a third month, you can probably beat him! You have to be consistent with what you are doing—all your actions must flow in one direction. Only the intellect can keep you on the direction you’ve set.
And the third is the spirit of cooperation. If you don’t have intellect, you have a superiority or an inferiority complex. We are all spokes in the wheel of life and nobody is important, and nobody is unimportant. Who is more important? The person who removes trash from your house, or the person who sits in the White House? For a week or more you can probably do without the person who sits in the White House, but not the person who removes trash from your house. To understand that we are all spokes in the wheel of life is to understand the spirit of cooperation.
If you practice all three C’s, you’ve prepared the cause of the effect of success. Here is an example.
There was a forgery case in India in the ’30s. The lawyer defending it spoke for six hours. The other lawyer? He dozed in the courtroom. The defense lawyer was speaking eloquently and documenting things and the judge kept waiting for the other lawyer to interrupt and contradict him. So the judge asks him if he has anything to complain about and he hasn’t even been listening. He says, “No objection.” The defense lawyer sits down, and the judge turns to the other lawyer and asks him if he has anything now to say.
And he says: “My lord, look at the document against the light.” So he puts it against the light. “Do you see the watermark? This paper was manufactured in 1932. And the document is dated 1930. Is this man Einstein? How did he manage to do that?” He handed over the two samples and walked out of the courtroom. That is the power of the intellect.
You need the intellect to program concentration, consistency, and cooperation. And you also need it for your peace of mind. Every one of you can give a seminar on what disturbs your peace of mind. And it will all be external factors.
Check back tomorrow for Part Two. Find out what disturbs your peace of mind and some RULES to live by to achieve inner peace.
This is a longer post than usual, but since I find it to be interesting and introspective I wanted to share it with like minded readers.
far outweigh the non-benefits of being unhappy. But who is happy all the time? Being happy all the time is just as not normal as being sad all the time!Life throws you some curveballs and it seems almost everyone I know right now is carrying a heavy personal load in some way be it with their family, love relationship, health, finances or job. I know a family whose house burnt down on Thanksgiving day no less. They’re just thankful that they made it out alive & now they’re lucky to have found their cat that ran out when the firemen arrived. Their personal belongings gone. The situation is not a happy one but they themselves are generally happy people and other than being shaken up by this devastation they’re dealing with it in an emotionally stable manner even with having to soon face starting all over again from scratch. It will not be as easy as looking for a new job. Which leaves me with the conclusion that aside from family, if you strip yourself of all your worldly belongings and material goods you are left with only yourself in your own skin and your bare emotions. That is really all you have that is your own. My thoughts are if you are an emotionally balanced person you will be able to face any negativity that comes your way in a more graceful and stable manner to be able to get through it faster than someone who is not. I believe your emotional health is at the crux of your quality of life. Without happiness, hopefulness and well-being, it’s difficult to reach your full potential and embrace each day as it comes. Even though some days leave you listless and it can be really hard to get through them. But you’ve got to suck it up and get on with it or get over it! If anything, I’ve always been
hopeless hopeful. Hope gives you; well….it gives you possibilities. You can see yourself succeeding instead of failing. Maybe you’ll end up failing but the thing is you expected not to. You’ll pick yourself up, brush yourself off and start again because you have faith in yourself and your abilities. Mainly you have faith in yourself that you can and will overcome temporary setbacks. This is what John Lennon had to say about it:The following is what Dr. Mercola has to offer on the subject:
Your emotional health is also intricately tied to your physical health, such that an emotionally imbalanced person will be at a greater risk of chronic diseases and acute illnesses like colds and flu.
It’s thought that genetics account for about 50 percent of your “innate” happiness while life circumstances make up another 10. The rest is under your control, and the first step to harnessing it is to choose it and believe you can be happy.
Research shows, for instance, that when people were told to attempt to feel happier when listening to music, they were (as opposed to those who were told to simply relax).
It was the intention to become happier that made a difference.
It might help to consider your emotions as a form of energy. According to Dr. Bradley Nelson, when you feel an emotion, what you’re really sensing is the vibration of a particular energy. Each emotion has its own vibratory signature, and when intense emotions are felt, they can become trapped in your body, much like a ball of energy.
These “balls of energy” can become lodged just about anywhere in your body, where they can then cause disruptions in your body’s energy system, which underlies your physical system much like an invisible matrix.
Your body cannot tell the difference between an actual experience that triggers an emotional response and an emotion fabricated through thought process alone—such as when worrying about something negative that might occur but has not actually happened, or conversely, thinking about something positive and pleasant.
The latter, of course, will help your body to express many of the health benefits associated with happiness, while ruminating or focusing on negativity can literally manifest disease.
The Health Benefits of Happiness
Happiness not only feels good… it’s physically good for your body, too. For instance, past research has found that positive emotions –including being happy, lively and calm — appear to play a role in immune function. One study found that when happy people are exposed to cold and flu viruses, they’re less likely to get sick and, if they do, exhibit fewer symptoms.
The association held true regardless of the participants’ levels of self-esteem, purpose, extraversion, age, education, body mass or pre-study immunity to the virus, leading the lead researcher to say:
“We need to take more seriously the possibility that positive emotional style is a major player in disease risk.”
Further, in a study of nearly 200 heart failure patients, those with higher levels of gratitude had better mood, better sleep, less fatigue, and less inflammation, which can worsen heart failure, than those with lower levels.
What this means is that investing in your own happiness should not be viewed as a self-indulgent luxury. It represents an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to piecing together your overall health.
Your mind can only take so much stress before it breaks down, yet many neglect to tend to their emotional health with the same devotion they give to their physical well-being.
Strategies to Stay Emotionally Healthy
It’s clear that your emotional state is intricately tied to your physical and mental states. So what can you do to stay emotionally healthy? Like achieving physical fitness or a healthy weight, this is an ongoing process… something that must be tended to each and every day. The good news is that small steps add up and can make a major different for your emotional health. Tips for emotional nurturing include:
- Be an Optimist
Looking on the bright side increases your ability to experience happiness in your day-to-day life while helping you cope more effectively with stress.
- Have Hope
Having hope allows you to see the light at the end of the tunnel, helping you push through even dark, challenging times. Accomplishing goals, even small ones, can help you to build your level of hope.
- Embrace Your Quirks
Self-deprecating remarks and thoughts will shroud your mind with negativity and foster increased levels of stress. Seek out and embrace the positive traits of yourself and your life, and avoid measuring your own worth by comparing yourself to those around you.
- Stay Connected
Having loving and supportive relationships helps you feel connected and accepted, and promote a more positive mood. Intimate relationships help meet your emotional needs, so make it a point to reach out to others to develop and nurture these relationships in your life.
- Express Gratitude
People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their goals. The best way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you’re grateful for each day. Doing so has been linked to happier moods, greater optimism and even better physical health.
- Find Your Purpose and Meaning
When you have a purpose or goal that you’re striving for, your life will take on a new meaning that supports your mental well-being. If you’re not sure what your purpose is, explore your natural talents and interests to help find it, and also consider your role in intimate relationships and ability to grow spiritually.
- Master Your Environment
When you have mastery over your environment, you’ve learned how to best modify your unique circumstances for the most emotional balance, which leads to feelings of pride and success. Mastery entails using skills such as time management and prioritization along with believing in your ability to handle whatever life throws your way.
- Exercise Regularly
Exercise boosts levels of health-promoting neurochemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress and also relieve some symptoms of depression. Rather than viewing exercise as a medical tool to lose weight, prevent disease, and live longer – all benefits that occur in the future – try viewing exercise as a daily tool to immediately enhance your frame of mind, reduce stress and feel happier.
- Practice Mindfulness
Practicing “mindfulness” means you’re actively paying attention to the moment you’re in right now. Rather than letting your mind wander, when you’re mindful you’re living in the moment and letting distracting or negative thoughts pass through your mind without getting caught up in their emotional implications. Mindfulness can help you reduce stress for increased well-being as well as achieve undistracted focus.
All we can do is try to do the best we can
Source: Dr. Mercola – articles by Mercola.com
When you think about those dark days you have from time to time, reading this poem may validate those feelings of the big, bad world. But then read the poem from the bottom up, and see how the world changes.
Fancy chocolate, heart-shaped pasta, red lipstick, and nostalgic candy are just a few of the Valentine’s Day things to make us happy.
Of course new shoes can make us happy any old time. And it goes without saying that whatever makes us happy will put a smile on our face and lessen our stress – which is healthy. At least that’s my excuse.
Have a LOVEly day.
In many cases, happiness is a role people play, and behind the smiling façade, there is a great deal of pain. Depression, breakdowns, and overreactions are common when unhappiness is covered up behind a smiling exterior and brilliant white teeth, when there is denial, sometimes even to one’s self, that there is much unhappiness.
“Just fine” is a role the ego plays more commonly in America than in certain other countries where being and looking miserable is almost the norm and therefore more socially acceptable.
Be aware that what you think, to a large extent, creates the emotions that you feel. See the link between your thinking and your emotions. Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.
Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is, rather than making stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well-being and inner peace, the source of true happiness.
Source: Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” (the Life Purpose Bible).
I re-discovered this book titled “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach – “A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” given to me by a dear friend 14 years ago. She inscribed on the inside cover “I hope that each day begins and ends with as much enlightenment and divine guidance as found in these pages. I had read excerpts from the book every day right until the end and just started re-reading through it once more – so much wisdom to be found on every page that I just had to share something for the New Year. Beginning with this paragraph by Margaret Young:
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.
So, how happy you are right now? Do you even know? Most people know what makes their parents, partners or children happy. When it comes to an awareness about the little, specific things in life that bring a smile to our faces and contentment to our own hearts, we often come up short. What is missing from many of our days is a true sense that we are enjoying the lives we are living. It’s difficult to experience moments of happiness if we’re not aware of what it is we genuinely love.
We must learn to savor small, authentic moments that bring us contentment. Experiment with a new cookie recipe. Take the time to slowly arrange a bouquet of flowers in order to appreciate their colors, fragrance, and beauty. Sip a cup of tea, pause for a few minutes to pet a purring cat. Simple pleasures waiting to be enjoyed. Simple pleasures often overlooked.
An good example: In 1926 a young Englishwoman, Joanna Field, began to feel that she was not living a truly authentic life, that she did not know what made her truly happy. To remedy this she kept a journal in order to discover what specifically triggered the feeling of delight in her daily life. The journal, A Life of One’s Own, was published in 1934. It was written, she confided, in the spirit of a detective who searches through the minutiae of the mundane in hopes of finding clues for what was missing in her life.
Joanna Field discovered that she delighted in red shoes, good food, sudden bursts of laughter, reading in French, answering letters, loitering in a crowd at a fair and “a new life when first it was grasped.”
Let us each grasp a new idea this year – the awareness of what it is that makes us truly happy.
Let us consider our personal preferences and learn how to recognize, then embrace, moments of happiness that are uniquely our own.
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” – Robert H. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land.
“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama XIV
“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” – George Burns
“Happiness is a warm puppy.”- Charles M. Schulz
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Happy vs Unhappy
Excerpts from “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle Unhappiness – what is a negative emotion? An emotion that is toxic to the body and interferes with its balance and harmonious functioning. Fear, anxiety, anger, bearing a grudge, sadness, hatred or intense dislike, jealousy, envy – all disrupt the energy flow through the body, affect the heart, the immune system, digestion, production of hormones, and so on. Even mainstream medicine, although it knows very little about how the ego operates yet, is beginning to recognize the connection between negative emotional states and physical disease. An emotion that does harm to the body also infects the people you come into contact with and indirectly, through a process of chain reaction, countless others you never meet. There is a generic term for all negative emotions: unhappiness.
The Secret of Happiness – How to be at peace now? By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else. Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with NOW. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.