When the cashier at the grocery store is rude to you or someone at work tries to belittle your work, most times their behavior has nothing to do with you, but instead is a reflection of their own state of mind. That cashier is rude to everyone and that coworker tries to make everyone feel small. It helps to know this so we don’t take it personally and let it affect our mood.
Everyone knows that exercise helps the physical body, but it also really helps clear out our non-physical energy body. In the course of our daily lives we pick up all kinds of stuff—stress from work, tiredness from dealing with family or friends who are having a hard time, stress from relationship, financial woes or simply having too much to do. Exercise helps blow out this buildup, so it makes us feel much happier. If you think of your aura as acting like a sponge that absorbs the feelings and thoughts of those you interact with, exercise is like rinsing and squeezing out that sponge. Women in particular benefit from daily exercise because they pick up even more auric garbage than men.
The type of exercise regimen you follow depends on your level of fitness and your demeanor. What’s important is to find a type of exercise that you enjoy so it’s not something you dread doing. It helps to alternate what exercise you do so you don’t get bored, and for those who are on stationary equipment like an elliptic trainer or treadmill, it’s great to watch TV shows or movies. If you haven’t exercised in a while, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before you start up again. She can advise you on a good regimen for your age and fitness level.
Mindfulness is the process of watching what is passing through your mind and stopping the thoughts that are draining or unhealthy. Most things only need to be thought through once. The rest of the thinking, the mulling over and obsessing, is not only draining, it actually makes it harder to objectively see what is best. When you keep your mind quiet and don’t play your worries, schemes and dreams over and over again, you create space for inner knowledge to bubble up and be heard.
Mindfulness isn’t limited to stopping negative or repetitive thoughts, it also includes not holding conversations in your mind with people you know. A lot of people talk to other people in their minds, explaining their beliefs and defending their positions. Not only is this a waste of energy, again it prevents your mind from being still. When your mind is still you can more clearly see the pointers in the universe. The universe gives us all kinds of information, but you have to be still to see it. When your mind is going round and round defending your ego, you miss these pointers, not to mention the relaxation and brightness that comes from being still.
The good news is that after practicing mindfulness for a while it becomes automatic, so as negative or repetitive thoughts and inner conversations arise, you naturally stop them and redirect your mind to higher, calmer thoughts or no thoughts at all.
It’s a personal choice to be happy. Everyone has a high, happy side and a low, bored, angry or depressed side, and which side you live in is determined by the choices you make. The choices that lead to happiness are the ones that challenge us, awaken us, and keep us balanced—they are the choices to meditate and work-out when you’d rather watch TV; to be mindful when you’d rather obsess on something negative; to work on your career when it seems easier to just hang out where you are; and, also the choice to relax and unwind when you know you need that, but want to stay plugged in.
The choices that lead to happiness are the ones that take care of the things that are your responsibility—and just as important, the choices to not take on things that are not your responsibility. On a daily basis, we are presented with numerous choices, both simple and complex, that lead us to either more happiness or less. When you become the person who makes the higher choice by default, you will absolutely feel happier. The good news is that meditation increases your powers of discrimination and will, so it’s easier to both discern the higher choice and follow it.
Of course, many of the physical circumstances of our lives are beyond our control, but even in these situations there is a choice to be happy. When you get caught in a major traffic delay, you can bemoan your fate which magnifies the misery of the situation, or you can keep on hand great audio books, podcasts and music to entertain yourself while you are trapped in your car. In more dire situations, like finding out your partner cheated on you or that you have been diagnosed with cancer, there is still an opportunity to be happy. Stick with me for a moment on this one. Sometimes the most painful situations in life can act as a catalyst to finally get us to really stop thought, go into our inner light and experience that we are not who we think we are—to see that we’re made of light and are eternal. This is the happiest of all experiences. When everything is going our way, we tend to not be very introspective. But in truly unpleasant times, in our disillusionment with how we thought our life would go, there is an opening to experience something deeper. So even amidst the crappiest situation, there is a choice to indulge in the difficulties of your life or an option to go deeper into the quiet and deeper into your soul where true happiness resides. True happiness isn’t about everything working out your way. It’s really about being in touch with your inner light.
Recently I was on vacation, and with the exception of a few email checks, I also took a vacation from the Internet. Though I have done this many times before, I was still amazed at the blissfulness of the mind without the energetic push and pull of the Internet. The mind is so much more quiet and unconcerned with the goings-on of the world when released from the tyranny of the Internet :–). I highly recommend you give yourself a vacation from the Internet the next time you go on vacation.
Where you choose to live is extremely important. There are some places on the planet that have better energy than others. Places with good energy make you feel better, more awake and more inspired. Everything seems brighter, edges seem more defined. Places with less energy make you feel dull, sleepy, even hopeless. This may sound strange at first but when you think back on specific places you have visited and how you have felt uplifted or dulled by them, you can see how where you live affects your day-to-day energy level and happiness. With this in mind, it makes sense to spend more money for a place with good energy than to spend less for a physically similar place that doesn’t have much energy. The savings from living in an energetically low neighborhood cost you in many other ways, but primarily in that you don’t have the energy or inspiration to do whatever it is you want to do! That being said, be sure not to spend more than you can afford on your living space, since living above your means is one of the shortest paths to stress, worry and unhappiness.
To find a house or apartment that works for you, pay attention to how you feel when you are in the place. If a place has a lot of positives and fits your needs from a practical perspective, but something just doesn’t click despite it seeming right in every way, it’s not the right place. On the other hand, if you walk in and feel a smile on your face and think “Yes!,” this is a good place for you. This methodology may sound childish, but it is your non-physical body that is assessing the energy of the place. This part of you is more intelligent than your mind and is better at assessing energy. After you try this method and see how well it works, you will lose your skepticism.
Meditation calms you down. It chills you out. It makes you sharper and smarter. It can improve your health and make you feel younger. But most importantly, it makes you happy!
When you meditate you go into the light inside of you, the light that makes up everything and everyone. It’s the light of eternity and it’s happiness itself. So when you meditate, you are making yourself more available to the light in your being, which literally makes you happy!
When you meditate you come to have silent knowledge about the universe that makes some of the seemingly harsh and random events of life more understandable. You come to see that you are not just your body and your mind, but that there is a part of you that lives beyond the death of the body. You see that who you truly are is eternal.
This might sound simplistic or fantastical, so you have to check it out for yourself to see that it is true. In fact, one of the reasons I like the practice of meditation is that it’s not about blindly believing what someone preaches to you, but rather finding out for yourself what is true.
(Reposting as this is one of the funniest and most liked posts. A day in the life, inspired by the use of inversion for illumination. Meant to be humorous—mostly!)
Go to bed late—that way you can use the snooze button excessively when the alarm jolts you awake, have a rushed meditation, and never feel quite refreshed throughout the day.
Eat foods that are convenient and tasty, but make you feel uncomfortable, whether they give you congestion, heartburn, gas, or constipation. (Or, bonus, degrade your health long-term!)
Take the most obvious/congested route to work during peak commute, so you can stew in the impatience and low-grade anger of your fellow commuters.
Check your phone constantly, that way you can receive small injections of bad energy throughout the day (if checking the news), or you can become numb to the true wonder and beauty of the world, like when checking Instagram to see endless photos of beautiful and wonderful things. Bonus: checking your phone constantly keeps you from having solid blocks of concentration that are foundational to meaningful work!
Talk shit about others! Nothing drags you down more than criticizing colleagues, friends and family.
Say yes to everything—projects and work you’re not interested in, so you (seemingly) please the boss; and social events that bore you and keep you from your true interests, so you please your family and acquaintances.
Watch TV instead of exercising, or even better than TV, spend a lot of time on the Internet. Click on every article that sounds scandalous, critical or gossipy. Go down rabbit holes, and for an extra dose of anger and righteousness, read the comments!
Stay indoors a lot—nothing keeps you in the same headspace as staying in the house.
Ignore your “gut” and niggling feelings, and instead squash or cover them with your drug of choice: alcohol, drugs, butterfat, TV, internet, video games, etc.
Play small, and give up easily. Hew to the limited mind set or agenda delivered to you by your family and upbringing. Don’t go for the thing you really want, like a big career move or Enlightenment. But if you do go for it and experience some opposition or impediments, give up quickly and take it as a sign you were never meant to change.
Let your mind wander all over the place and particularly indulge in negative emotions, like hatred, anger and sadness. Pretend that negative emotions have more reality and value than love.
The historical Buddha refrained from answering many of his students’ metaphysical questions, such as whether a self exists or not, whether an enlightened being continues to exist after death or not, or if the world is eternal or not. This is often referred to as the silence of the Buddha. The Buddha said he was silent on these questions because they didn’t lead to liberation, but instead were a distraction.
The Buddha illustrated his position in the parable of a woman who has been hit by a poisoned arrow. The woman is taken to a doctor, who wants to remove the arrow at once. But the wounded woman cries out, “The arrow shall not be pulled out until I know who the man is who shot me, to what family he belongs, if he is big, small, or of medium build, and if his skin is black, brown or white.” Just as the woman wounded by the arrow would have died before she got the answer to her questions, so the student would be laid low by the suffering of the world before solving these metaphysical questions.
—Paraphrased from the “Silence of the Buddha” entry in The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion