What is Happiness?
How do we cultivate it?
We are all familiar with the concept that often times those people who seem most ‘happy’ by virtue of being jolly and smiling all the time are those who suffer the darkest of depressions behind closed doors, and sometimes even to the point that those people take their own lives.
So, if jolly and smiling does equate to happy, what does? Is it a sense of joy / elation about a specific experience? Is that a fleeting emotion of pleasure rather than true happiness?
Is it, as I believe, a more intrinsic, deep level of contentment. The ability to understand that emotions will come and go, pain, suffering, joy, elation are all transient but how we deal with those emotions and the events which go with them determines whether we are affected by them at a core level.
This level of inner wellbeing, of calmness and serenity or acceptance are things which are not easy to achieve in this world, with its high stress levels, constant negative media coverage and a society which seems to teach us pessimism, and the consumerism so popular today with adverts telling us that a new fad will make us happy every 5 seconds.
However, I believe that we can cultivate that inner wellbeing and contentment if we work hard at it. By this I mean use our minds to our advantage instead of being held siege by them. This is my current journey, and I hope that some day I will exude the same positive radiance as the worlds great sages, Buddhists and Spiritual Masters.
I’d like to take you on that journey with me if I may, to see if together, we can create a more stable, positive society full of people who radiate wellbeing from their very core.
My first lesson is to understand that everything is temporary in this world, life, events, emotions, suffering, joy… all temporary. The key to this challenge is meditation & I am intending to visualise a couple of things! the first is that my inner essence is calm, like the deep sea, and that my passing emotions are like the weather atop that deep ocean. One moment bright and still, the next stormy and so on but that those things cannot impact on my still calm depths. The second, a particular battle for me, is to visualise an end to my physical pain. I know that our brains are responsible for how we feel pain, some people never feel pain, even when badly wounded because they have an unusual circuit in their brain! I know that our reaction to pain, or it’s continued presence, can make our brain respond by sending stronger pain signals to our body. So I am going to take an old Buddhist visualisation and imagine that a beautiful healing luminous nectar is seeping into the core of my pain and soothing it our of existence. So fingers crossed for the next few days these will be my meditation topics and I will come back to you with the results!
If you want to try it to then let me know how it goes. I would love to know that my journey, and learning can help others too.
Toodaloo for now