"True happiness is something that, by its nature, gets spread around.” Buddha
It seems a no brainer that if I were to ask, if you want to be happy, your response would be a resounding Yes! I believe that all of us want to be happy and what often gets in the way is when we seek it in things, people or status.
- So when was the last time you felt happy?
- What does happiness mean to you?
- Is it money, relationship or peace of mind?
Have you ever found yourself saying or thinking these words? Prior to learning and practicing mindfulness, I found myself yearning for things to be different. I really believed, if only things were different (more money, more time, less worry) I'd be happy. So I'd dwell in the world of "what if and if only and was miserable. My attention and energy were hooked in pursuing happiness in things and trying to control the world around me. This just kept me racing through life and getting no where. It was exhausting and I was piling on more stress to what was already a stressful.
The awakened heart opens us to life
We come into balance when we learn to let go of reacting to stress or trying to control the world around us or within. When we learn to respond instead of react to challenges in life with acceptance and compassion we're able to reconnect with the vibrancy around us. We're able to feel more connected to the things that nourish the mind and cultivate loving connection. This allows us to open to life. We see both the beauty and the suffering and don't judge one as better than the other. So instead of turning our eyes away and closing our hearts to suffering, we're able to stay present and respond with compassion and loving kindness. It can be challenging to do this as letting our guard down and opening our hearts is counter intuitive. It goes against striving and survival. The benefits out weigh the challenges. When we approach life with an awakened heart it opens us to life, love and our energy that is tied up in worry is free to appreciate life in the moment. Even when things are difficult, when we practice mindfulness we have more clarity of mind, our hearts are more open to life, compassion and happiness.
Mindfulness is a conscious choice...
All of this is great in theory but mindfulness is not about theories. It is about the lived experience. Right now pause and notice the following:
- What's the body like in this moment as you read this?
- What emotion is felt?
- Has this article triggered memories from the past? Hope for the future?
- Close your eyes and tune into the body
- Breathing in feel the sensation of breath coming into the body
- Breathing out soften and relax the body and heart.
Take time to consciously connect with this moment. It truly is a gift and can lead to meeting life with acceptance, compassion and happiness.
May you be well