Exercise your mind to stay happy, always

October 12, 2012

I remember this famous saying which goes like this, “We see, but do not look; we hear, but do not listen”.  I did not understand or grasp the entire meaning of this statement until one of my friends asked me to listen to his music composition and give a critical opinion.   He knew that I was wont to give a favourable opinion and pre-empted me from doing so by this suggestion.  Afterwards I said to him, “ The music and the lines seem very ordinary, but it felt like it came straight from your heart”.  My friend hugged me and said, “It did, but how did you know?”  And I found myself saying, “Because I listened to it”.  He looked a bit baffled by the answer.   I felt the pulse of the composition and could relive the emotion that prompted my friend to write the song.  There was also this person I met in a train journey, who talked to me for about one hour without myself contributing a word to the discussion and yet told me that he had the most enjoyable conversation.  Again, all I did was listen and yes, listen hard; if you know what I mean.  And I admit it made me so happy to listen and just listen without making any comments.

Once I told my mother that I was a very unlucky person from whose grasp everything would slip away.  My mother smiled and pointed out that I was a very ungrateful person.  She asked me to look around and note down things that I was privileged to have and then, write down those things that I possessed without really earning it.  I was required to write every little thing that made me feel good and also those things that happened around which made me happy even in the slightest way.  It also meant that I was to write it down if a good looking girl just as much cast an appreciative glance.  The list was unending and I knew I could go on all day and not write down half of it.  “ You do not put your heart behind your effort, which is why you miss out on so many things that could have made you happy.  If you did, you’d be very grateful that so many things happen in your life just so that you stay happy, always.”

THINGS HAPPEN IN YOUR LIFE JUST SO THAT YOU STAY HAPPY!!!?.  Unbelievable, isn’t it?  Happiness comes to those who are willing to work to achieve happiness.  Yes, it is something you need to work at.  You need to create a favourable climate, condition and a healthy mind to let happiness dwell in you forever.  Before discarding this theory as something silly, answer this question.  Did you just feel a blanket of lethargy slip over your previously enthusiastic mood?  Yes, isn’t it true that you are a little bored to find out nor could you care less.   You were not looking for some work to do, but some quick solutions and fast answers that would instantly dissolve all your worries and elevate you to a plane of permanent state of happiness, where you could rest all the time and enjoy everything just as smoothly as you would enjoy a piece of sweet chocolate.

But this does not mean that you have to work your butt off until you are so tired you couldn’t care less if you became happy or not.  There is a simple solution; a formula that can leave you feeling  good throughout the day.   And the formula is “EXPRESS  GRATITUDE FOR EVERYTHING GOOD THAT HAPPENS TO YOU, EVERYDAY”.  And when you do, more things start to happen around you just to make you happy or rather, you start to observe that it is so easy to stay happy.

Can’t believe it, right?  “It cannot be that simple” is what that crossed your mind right now, isn’t it?  We have been taught by all religious clerics that the path to happiness is laid with rocks, potholes and even burning charcoal, not to mention all the centipedes, millipedes, spiders and scorpions that lie in wait for you.  In fact, the way these pundits of religion put it, you will never ever be happy unless you are ready to severely torture and bruise your heart and body, observing some rigid rules and stipulations.  And have you noticed those people who pretend to have found the path to eternal happiness?  They always look very self righteous and condescending, their voice shaped and toned in a particular way as to draw the least amount of challenge, their mannerisms very effeminate and yet with all the hype that surrounds them, you can feel and even touch their super inflated ego.  Are these people really happy or are they pretending to have captured this elusive state of mind called happiness?  I do not think so nor do I care.   But you can be sure about something; you can INVITE happiness to reside in your mind, always.

Do we realize that most of the time our minds are chewing on the unpleasant events that happened in our lives, thereby inviting more and more of the same?  Yes, we always are thinking about those unpaid bills, how to deal with the high blood pressure,  what someone is thinking about us and just about everything that does not help.  The result is that more and more of such incidents come looking for you?  Here is something for you, women to consider.  Show me a woman who is not suffering from a little bit of depression and I will show you a woman who has no time to think about these things and so, very happy with what she is.  Yes, those who do not have the time to think about the negative things in life, do not have any negative things haunting their minds either.  By thinking about the negative, you inadvertently show gratitude that sends ‘come back again’ signals to the same feeling.   And you blame GOD for showering one mishap after another on you and wonder why the so called ‘blessed’ people keep getting more and more of wishes realized.

Does this mean that nothing bad is ever going to happen to you if you keep yourself from thinking about it?   Before this question is answered, you should understand that happiness and pleasure are two different things.  Happiness is a state of mind wherein the mind does not seek to be happy and is in a state of contentment.  Pleasure is a momentary fleeting sensation and is a condition the mind seeks to recreate.  The more pleasure you seek, the more the pain in the loss or denial of the pleasure.  A content mind does not have to nor waste time seeking out the pastures of pleasure.  It is a state when every chore is done and completed with a certain satisfaction and gratitude for having been able to go through it.  The mind is readies itself for a timeless voyage where the mere existence is happiness in itself.  There will be no more complaints nor bickering in the mind for losing out on what you so rightfully deserve and did not get.

Here is another simple exercise that you should regularly to train the mind to stay feeling good and content.  Look at any object such as your cell phone or computer or pen or whatever that is next to you.  Run your eyes all over the object, sucking in all the details.  Keep looking at it and tell yourself that you love it with all your heart.  Try to believe it too.  The transformation is almost instantaneous.   Your mind will immediately cease its non-stop chatter and calm down.  This may even bring a smile to your lips and the same time, you realize that a change has come over your attitude.  You are more serious all of a sudden, with a sense of intense focus taking shape in your mind.  Try to hold on to this object with all your mind, reminding yourself that you love it so much, for a few minutes.  Now, if this state or shape of mind always becomes your attitude towards life, would you ever be unhappy?

I hope you understand what I am trying to get at.  Moving your focus from inanimate objects such as the phone and pen, to the people around you will bring a sea of change in your perception of life.  You may cease to be a “chatterbox” or “fruit cake” or a person of no consequence and become someone people enjoy talking to.  They will not even realize that you did not try to pass judgments or pass comments or even smile, but will only feel good that they talked to you.  You slowly become a little removed from the chaos around you and yet stay as a part of everything.  You start to observe more; listen to the song of the birds in the morning, learn to smile with just your eyes and encompass everything around you in a blanket of love.  This feeling overflows from your heart, in all directions and never needs to be refilled.  And that, my friend, is contentment.  And yes, this frame of mind can be achieved with a minimum of effort and work.

As I mentioned before, there are two things that you have to do to make your mind ready to invite love and happiness to take residence in there.  First, open a bank account in your mind, where you deposit the memories of all the good things that you see or happen to you every day; everything from watching two kittens play or a child smiling at you or someone getting up to give you a seat in the bus.  Keep a trash bin also ready in your mind, where you put all the dirty things that happen every day.  Every time you come across a thought that hurts, you tell yourself you are trashing it and focus on something better such as listening to music or any other.  Keep going back to your account where you saved the memories of the good moments, try to re-live them with all your heart and be grateful that such moments happened in your life.  The second part demands that you spent about five minutes in the morning and evening, practicing the art of focusing on all details and loving or trying to love inanimate objects.  You should then, slowly but steadily, try to graduate by focusing on the trees, birds, cats and dogs, which do not normally challenge your attitude.  Very soon, you will find that you are, without any effort, doing the same thing to the people around you and yes, without even realizing it, learned the art of being happy, always.


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