Don’t Follow Your Heart?

Many people interpret the expression “Follow your heart” to mean “Do whatever you feel like doing.”  But what following your heart truly means is:

•  NOT following society’s ideas of what you should do (duh)

•  NOT following other people’s ideas for you—including parents, friends and colleagues (medium-duh)

•  NOT following what your mind tells you (wait, really?)

Yes, really. Your mind has a lot of ideas about what you should do to follow your heart, but the mind doesn’t necessarily know what’s best for you.

Instead, following your heart means following your soul, which is your true heart. The deepest part of yourself is enlightened, is enlightenment itself and is super-duper wise. If you follow what your soul wants you’ll always be happy. If you follow other people’s ideas or your mind’s ideas of what you should do with your life, you will always feel off, not quite right and not quite at ease, even if you are outwardly successful. You will feel an undertone of depression or angst when you are not following your dharma, i.e., that which is spiritually correct for you.

So the challenge is how do you know what your soul wants? It’s simple, you meditate. You take time out daily to stop thought so you can feel your true heart. That’s all you have to do—why make it more complicated? A free guide on how to meditate can be found here.

© 2016 Sara Weston. Sara is the author of the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on Amazon.com and Amazon UKCAFR and DEA FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

You Are Not Your Mind

Your mind is an amazing and essential tool, but it is not who you truly are. All the thoughts and ideas that run through your mind feel very close, like “you,” so it can certainly feel like your mind defines who you are—but if you put your mind on “Pause” for a moment and stop your thoughts, you will find that there is still a presence there. You find that you are still there even when your mind is not thinking.

What is that presence that is still there when the mind is silent? I can tell you that it is your true self, the light and consciousness that make up everything and everyone. But it’s not very transformative to read that. What’s powerful is to experience that eternality for yourself! What’s transformative is to start meditating and slowing down the mind so you can find out for yourself that who you truly are is beyond the mind and the body, is eternal and is good. If you need meditation instruction, check out the free eBook on How to Meditate.

© 2014 Sara Weston. Sara is the author of he book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DEA FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Core Practice: Be Honest With Yourself

Additional Tips2Honesty with yourself is essential to being happy. You have to check that what you are doing in your life is working for you. Sometimes we have such a strong idea of how our life should be and what will make us happy that we don’t want to face that these ideas aren’t right for us anymore. We may have grown out of them or they may have never been our ideas and dreams in the first place, but instead were imposed by family or society and accepted by us as ours. Other times we have invested so much time and energy to get our life to where it is, that we don’t want to face the fact that it is no longer working. When we honestly recognize that something is no longer working, then from this place of recognition we can begin to change it.

Being honest about what is working applies to all aspects of your life, big and small—whether it’s recognizing that you’re bored with your job and you need to mix it up, or that constantly checking your phone diffuses your focus and you need to dial it down. When you recognize what is not working in your life and change it, despite past ideas of what you think will make you happy, you will be a happier person.

Note that you don’t have to necessarily share or discuss your internal honesty with others. In fact, if we had to share all our internal insights with others, we’d never be completely honest with ourselves! What matters most is that you are simply honest with yourself.

Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DE. © 2013 – 2014 Sara Weston.  A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Be A Beginner

Beginners-Mind2

When you have the state of mind of a beginner, you allow yourself to try new things and are open to new ideas, which is energizing and fun. When you are a beginner, you’re not afraid to try something just because you won’t be good at it or because it’s “not you.” You can have a great time at something and do it without the intent of becoming an expert. Who doesn’t love and admire the eighty-one-year-old woman who is picking up the piano for the first time or the fifty-year-old who is just learning to surf, both of whom are unlikely to become experts in these fields.

When you have the mind state of an expert and are heavy with success, you’re more likely to stay in your comfort zone and limit your experiences to those in which you can excel, and obviously that is not a fun way to live. And even in the fields in which you are truly an expert, it’s always great to not know it all. In being open we create room to learn new things and refine and improve our knowledge and skills.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, life is simply harder when you approach it as a know-it-all. When we think back on times when we “knew it all,” we invariably created more work for ourselves. I recall a time at one of my first jobs, the sous-chef saw me laboriously chopping an onion and said, “Hey, let me show you a great way to quickly dice an onion.” I replied, “I already know how” and summarily cut off the opportunity to learn how to do something in a more efficient way. At some point, I did learn the professional way to dice an onion and was amazed at what an idiot I had been. In “knowing it all,” I looked like an idiot to my coworkers by clinging to an inefficient way, but more importantly, I kept myself from learning a much better way of doing something. I’m grateful I had this experience so I could learn firsthand the beauty of being a beginner!

(Slightly amusing aside: after the book was published with this entry, several people asked me how to cut an onion.)

Tip excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DE. © 2013 – 2014 Sara Weston.  A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

What You Focus On You Become

Tips-Illus-Movies2(Fifth entry in an ongoing series in which movies are used to illustrate happiness concepts and tips.)

It is a spiritual principle that what you focus on, you become.  The mind is like water and takes on the shape of whatever you put it in. So if you focus strongly on a school or work project, your mind will be filled with that project; if you surf the Internet constantly, you will feel very dull as that is the vibration of the Internet; if you focus on how you were a victim of some injustice, you will be filled with victimhood; if you play a lot of aggressive video games, you will feel really aggressive; if you watch a lot of pornography, you will become obsessed with sex; if you focus on enlightenment, your mind will be filled with light. There’s no judgement here, it’s just literally that what you put into your mind is what you will think about and as a result, who you become.

TOTAL-RECALL-ENDINGThis principle is illustrated in the movie Total Recall (1990). In the movie, Hauser (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a secret agent who wants to infiltrate the rebel stronghold so he can assassinate their leader, Kuato, and snuff out the rebellion. Since Kuato is deeply psychic and could easily identify an infiltrator who wants to kill him, Hauser orchestrates a very elaborate series of events, including having his memories wiped, so he can infiltrate the rebels with a mind free of his traitorous intent. But what happens is that in his secret identity as Douglas Quaid, he falls in love with one of the rebels and sympathizes with their plight. Immersed in the rebels’ world he becomes one of them. And then when he sees a video of himself saying it was all a setup to kill Kuato and now it’s time to have his Hauser memories restored, he has no desire to go back to being Hauser (despite the big house and Mercedes).  By being immersed in the rebel stronghold, he took on their states of mind, their perceptions and didn’t want to go back to his old mind (and didn’t).

Your mind, like Hauser’s, will take on the vibration of whatever you put it into, so take care where you put your mind! And always focus on the high and bright.*

*When I say to focus on the high and bright, this is not meant to imply that you should deny your problems or issues. In fact, in order to have a happy mind, you must address your problems and keep your personal, financial and career houses in order precisely so your mind can be free to focus on the high and bright. More on this topic can be found can be found in this post on how to be mindful.

Sara is the author of the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DE. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here. © 2014 Sara Weston

Drop the desire/aversion approach to life.

Most people spend an enormous amount of energy trying to attract the things they desire and repel the things they are averse to. The things most people want to attract are relationship, money, success and recognition. The things most people try to keep away are the things they are afraid of or that make them uncomfortable, such as being alone, unloved, in pain, or appearing dumb or unsuccessful. In this desire/aversion approach, the basis of our thoughts and actions revolve around trying to get what we desire and avoid what we are averse to.

The problem with this approach is twofold. First, it’s not a very reliable approach because if your happiness is based on getting what you want and avoiding what you don’t want, you’re bound to be unhappy a lot of the time! We can look at our own lives and the people around us and see that the world just doesn’t go our way a lot of the time. And even when we do get what we want, the happiness that it creates can be very transient. The new car (or house, or job, or boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife) that you wanted may turn out to not be what you expected, or after you have had it for a while it’s not as exciting; you get used to it and it no longer thrills you, or you wreck it and that makes you unhappy. In all these cases, the happiness brought on by these things should absolutely be enjoyed, but they should be recognized as undependable sources of lasting happiness.

Second, this desire/aversion approach to happiness consumes an enormous amount of mental energy. All of the strategizing, scheming and avoiding required to bring what you desire and repel what you don’t, creates a busy mind which blocks you from seeing and feeling your innate light. So paradoxically, all the mental activity devoted to getting what you want so you’ll be happy, actually makes you feel less happy.

Dropping the desire/aversion approach to life doesn’t mean you don’t try to achieve things, it just means you don’t look to those achievements for intrinsic, lasting happiness. They are fun, many times worth doing or having, just don’t expect them to be your ultimate source of happiness. And happily, when you stop clinging so tightly to the things you desire, you actually enjoy them more because you’re not so afraid of losing them.

The alternative to this system is to get your happiness from the light of eternity. When you go into the light you can’t help but get a smile on your face. After meditating you can do the most mundane things and be radiantly happy because you feel that light in your being. From this place, when good things happen to you, you can enjoy them and when bad things happen, your boat won’t be so rocked by the world not going your way. After some years of meditation, your happiness will barely be affected by what’s going on in the world. This might sound so strange as to not even be appealing, but I can tell you it’s the best place to be. You’re not unrealistic about what is going on in the world, nor are you spaced out or ungrounded, you are simply getting your happiness from light instead of from things working out in the world.

Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DE. © 2013 – 2014 Sara Weston.  A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Meditation Is the Means to Enlightenment

Download free meditation instruction.

Meditation is the means to enlightenment. When you stop thought through meditation, a reality that is deeper than our everyday reality begins to be revealed to you. That deeper reality, though unseen by most, is ever present.  And once you begin to dip your toes in these eternal waters, you begin to see the vast wisdom and love that is at your core. So I invite you to find this love that is at your core. I invite you to meditate.

Happy Solstice,
Sara

For meditation instruction, download the free eBook on How to Meditate