Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

A small task, an enormous issue

Actress Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman were among 50 people indicted Tuesday in a widespread college admission bribery scandal.

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Can you tolerate taking a step back, observing your thoughts from a distance.


The distance is less than half a step, just far enough to escape the center of your thoughts.


Can you tolerate dropping your identity long enough to see the mechanism of thought (judgment).

 

Our mind will influence, maybe even control us if we blindly chase it’s needs, wants and desires.


Our created “Ego” craves to be in the center of thought, the mind going quickly, losing awareness of this moment.

 

Our purpose in life is not to be as smart as possible or possess more toys than the neighbor.

 

To pursue happiness is our goal, not the highest score.

 

Look at this cheating scandal, bribing officials for college, for stature, power and approval.


These people would be considered wealthy, successful and happy, right.

 

Even all their success, wealth and power fail to quench their needs..

 

We are all equals, on this path together, hopefully helping others.

 

Money can not buy happiness, in fact it looks like it steals your soul.

 

At least chase things that contain happiness.

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Fear of failure or the thrill of Victory

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Having grown up with a narcissistic caregiver, the fear of failure motivated me.
Actually the fear of failing my father’s demands would be more accurate.

 

Many of the greatest athletes ever were driven by fear of failure.
Success and stardom never diminished that insecurity.

 

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig are perfect examples. One was bombastic, gregarious and happy-go-lucky. The other was shy, boring and very quiet.


One demanded the limelight, lived an excessive life of pleasure with food, alcohol and women.


 

The other had no apparent excess or vices,  playing like a man with average talent. Gehrig was called the iron horse, playing in over 2,000 straight games.  An incredible record that was finally broken by Cal Ripken.

 

One was incorrigible, his parents dropped the Babe off at a catholic orphanage. The other graduated from Columbia university.

 


Babe Ruth was questioned about making more money than the president. He commented he had a better year than the president. Lou Gehrig was a superstar but never felt worthy of that title.

 

A mindful athlete enjoys being in the moment, knowing his self-worth is not connected to external wins and losses.  Not an easy path for most mortals.
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Choices: Expectations and happiness or suffering


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After our basic needs are met, happiness is possible without added achievement, possessions, status, or approval.

 

We choose to create external expectations, (cars, careers, titles, approval, etc).
Unfulfilled expectations lead to loss, sadness, jealousy and maybe depression.

 

We need nothing more than the basics if we live in this moment. Nothing wrong with possessions, just realize happiness is not contained in ownership.

 

On the opposite side of opulence, these awakened monks take a vow of poverty and service. They Meditate for hours each day, offering up loving kindness for all sentient beings.

 

They are acknowledged as being the happiest beings on this planet.

 

They lose no sleep with concerns about owning possessions, titles or wielding power.


Humility and giving dominate their thoughts and behavior.

 

Society associates happiness with business success, status, power and possessions.

 

How would you explain lives like Mother Theresa, Mandela, Lincoln?

 

 Lives of service, sacrifice and giving. The opposite of  pleasure-seeking.

 

Many lives that had incredible hardships, huge emotional loss, were extremely satisfying.
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People who enjoy the most wellbeing _______ ?

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People who enjoy the most wellbeing let the constant flow of thoughts pass on through, unattended.


Some have done this with no meditation practice, just an innate knowing life is most vibrant right now, empty of thought.

 

We travel to exotic places at the ends of the earth on vacation to see the sights, not think about them.

 

We could stay at home and think about the places in outer space we can not reach.

 

For the majority of us, a daily meditation practice, is the tool we use to release thought and stay focused on now.

 

Twenty focused minutes a day can bring change.

 

We have to work, take daily action to train our mind.

 

Depends if you desire thought to rule your mind or you would rather captain this ship.
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Happiness: An Irresistible Pursuit from “The Undefeated Mind”

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We actually have as little choice about wanting to become happy as the heart does about pumping blood. We’re incapable of wanting not to become happy. The pursuit of happiness isn’t merely an inalienable right with which we’re endowed or an activity we’re capable of choosing; it’s psychological law we must obey.

 


Even people who appear to want nothing to do with happiness, like those so immersed in self-hatred that their principle aim becomes self-sabotage, will say they haven’t lost their desire for happiness so much as ceased to believe they deserve it.

 

Similarly, people suffering from severe depression who seek their own destruction typically do so only to escape the pain they’re feeling, not because they no longer want to be happy.

 

 

They may no longer believe they can be happy and therefore stop behaving as if they want to be, but that’s because depression often leads to a state of learned helplessness (once convinced that happiness is no longer possible, continuing to take action toward it becomes next to impossible).

 


Just as the heart’s function continues to be the pumping of blood even when it starts to fail, our minds aim toward happiness even when they appear to stop seeking it or even wanting it.

 

 

Whether we want this to be true or even realize it is makes no difference. Like the heart, our minds are built a certain way to perform a certain function we can’t change, one that by virtue of our sentience and self-awareness we just happen to be able to perceive.

 


But if happiness is indeed our primary function, why is it so difficult to achieve?

 

 

Perhaps for at least two reasons. First, because merely desiring happiness more than anything else doesn’t itself teach us how to achieve it.

 

 

And as we’re all capable of believing things without evidence, many of our beliefs about what makes us happy will simply turn out to be wrong. How many of us, for example, consider happiness to lie in the unmitigated pursuit of pleasure?

 

 

Certainly pleasure plays an important role in contributing to happiness, but to appreciate how an existence can be overflowing with pleasure and still be miserable we only need look at people for whom certain pleasures (sex, gambling, drugs, and so on) send all other considerations spinning off into the distance and often cause the collapse of the very lives they delight.

 

 

Further, too much pleasure can be paradoxically unpleasant (a few jelly beans are delicious, but too many make us sick), something happiness, by definition, can never be.

 

Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson: Reciprocal Inhibition

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“Some parts of the brain are linked by reciprocal inhibition: when one part activates, it suppresses another one.

 

To some extent, the left and right hemispheres have this relationship; thus, when you stimulate the right hemisphere by engaging the activities it specializes in, the verbal centers of the left hemisphere are effectively shushed.

 

The right, visual-spatial hemisphere has the greater responsibility for representing the state of your body, so awareness of the body can help suppress left-brain verbal chatter.

 

 

“Right hemisphere activation increases further when you sense the body as a whole, which draws upon the global, gestalt processing of that hemisphere.”
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My two cents: Meditation/Mindfulness practice activates the right hemisphere, thus suppressing our cognitive engine, our verbal centers and our created “Ego”.

 


We practice to build focus, to reach our right hemisphere for a precious few seconds. With practice we deepen and build longer and longer durations of peace and calm.

 

 

There is no way of knowing the benefits of meditating without actual intense practice, reading a book or taking a class changes nothing.

 

 

Meditation is not an intellectual commodity, it takes action, practice, sitting alone with your demons.

 


When we surrender to our fears, enormous opportunity appears.
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Applying Meditation/Mindfulness, using the focus we have built

 

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Happiness exists in only one time zone, this present moment, now.   Happiness does not exist in the past or future.

 

 

That means staying present, being acutely aware of our surroundings without judgment is the goal.

 

 

Check in as often as you can during the day. Focus, take three deep breaths and come back to now, then smile.  It’s working.

 


If we placed all our energy today on this task, opportunity may arrive.

 

 

You may see how much time we waste meandering in thought and connected emotion.

 

 

I still find myself in one of my childhood fantasies, World Series, bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded and I am at bat.

 

 

It is far better than a trauma memory or a negative emotion but it takes me away from now.

 


Now, is what we need.

 


Three letter word changes life, completely. All those worries, doubts and fears fade, leaving us with precious time and energy.

 

 

The mind can be trained to go slow and empty itself of thought with daily focus and application.

 

 


Not a huge effort, but a specialized, specific type of focus and exploration.

 

 

Start your journey with ten minutes a day.
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