According to ‘The Chair’ in Claudius Clear’s “Letters on Life”, Justice, truth and love are the chief ingredients of every happy life.
Jimmy Hendrix once said “When the power of love is greater than the love of power the world will know peace”.
We all know that a good heart, sound principles and an honest purpose, coupled with a positive outlook are great foundations for a happy life.
I find happiness in the common places, enjoying family and friends, giving love to others and being compassionate with myself. Great sex, a few squares of dark chocolate, a latte, conversations with strangers and breathing in the early morning air.
When I talk to people about meditation, compassion and healthy living, often they tell me I’m not sharing anything new with them. People know that to be happy they have to spend more time enjoying the simple things in life, be happy with who they are and give and receive love.
So why are so many of us still unhappy?
Instances of chronic stress related illness have increased drastically in the last 15 years. Recent figures out of the EU are indicating there has been a drastic reduction in the number of years, people in industrialized countries, spend disease free.
When I share this information with my friends and family they reply “Of course everyone is stressed, the economy is shot”, “People are losing their jobs, can’t pay the mortgage, I’d be stressed too”. “It’s the cost of living that is killing people, not stress”.
What if I told you, you could still be happy, and reduce stress levels despite the state of the economy, your employment status or the cost of your bills?
Crazy you say!
Stress is largely attributed to our social conditioning.
We are programed from a young age to believe our self-worth lies externally to us. We find happiness in our jobs, possessions, our social status, or relationship status and how often we receive rewards for our deeds.
For hundreds of years society has been geared towards the accumulation of wealth (land, development, gold, religion) and have moved away from cultivating a sense of self-worth that exists within.
When we really sit back and reflect on what we are taught through out our lives, even in childhood, it is a vast array of lesson focused on achieving financial security, getting good grades, being well behaved to receive a reward, work long hours to pay off a mortgage, car loan or school fees for the kids. There is little time dedicated to teaching us how to effectively negotiate life’s ups and downs, how to see the silver lining, how to find peace in times of chaos.
All our feelings are generated within. We create our own stress, our own sadness and our own happiness.
These feelings are not connected to how many TV’s we own, if our car is bought new or second hand. They are not dependent on the state of the economy, if interest rates rise or fall. By focusing our sense of worth out side of ourselves, we are destined to always feel worthless. Someone will always be better off then we are, have more, look nicer or be slimmer. We will go in and out of debt, the economy will fluctuate and the cost of living will continue to rise with the rate of consumerism.
I’m not saying that development, money, possessions or success are evils. They all have a place in the circle of life. Without desire we would all still be suck in the stone age.
There is no greater happiness, and this I can attest to, then finding within yourself the love and worth of just being. I am happy because I am here. I get to experience life and share it with others.
If we can master the mind, we will find all the happiness we need.
The mind can be a place of untamed negativity that can cause undue stress in the body and in our lives. They way we think influences how we feel and in turn how we react to our environment.
By working on observing the mind through meditation we can begin to see the negative self talk we create and make changes to quiet the negativity and create a more positive internal state for ourselves. Once we do this, our external environment will begin to change for the better.
For one whole day, make a conscious effort to notice your thoughts. When you begin to feel stresses or frustrated, take a moment to notice the negative chatter in your mind.
Be gentle with yourself. There is no need to become upset or angry with yourself for having these thoughts. Simply notice them and maybe have a little giggle at how negative the mind can be. It may surprise you to notice just how many negative thoughts you have in one day.
At the end of the day, it may help to spend 10 minutes writing down what you noticed about your thoughts.
On the following day, when you notice a negative thought, gently try and change the perspective to a positive one.
See how this makes a difference to your day 🙂