Small Happiness Tip

PreparedKeep on hand at all times great audio books, podcasts, music, books or magazines. It’s helpful to have something entertaining to do when you are waiting in line at the DMV or at the doctor’s office or when you’re caught in traffic or on the subway. There are so many draining situations that become the opposite when you have something interesting to occupy your mind.

© 2013-2019 Sara Weston. Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on Amazon.com or Amazon UKCA, FR , IT, ES and DE. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Download the How to Be Happy NOW app

Download on the App Store

Bring your full attention to what you do

With the advent of email, cellphones, text messaging, the Internet, etc. there are numerous ways for our focus to be interrupted. But when our attention is diffused, we don’t approach our interactions with people or our work with the same level of energy and intent that we do when we are focused. When we approach people in a scattered way, we don’t hear, understand and ultimately relate to them as well. When we approach work without our full attention, our work is not as clear and crisp, it takes longer to do and is not as satisfying to do as when we are focused. Even watching a movie while multi-tasking diminishes the experience. A movie takes you on an emotional journey, but when you switch your attention to texts, emails and phone conversations, your attention is leached out and the movie isn’t as funny, poignant or thrilling. In other words, when you don’t bring your attention to what you do, you miss all the good stuff. When you bring your full attention to work, play and relationships, they’re more intense, enjoyable and satisfying.

© 2013-2019 Sara Weston. Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on Amazon.com or Amazon UKCA, FR , IT, ES and DE. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Download the How to Be Happy NOW app

Download on the App Store

Teacher Appreciation Day

Excerpted from the great book Zen Antics, translated by Thomas Cleary (also in Classics of Buddhism and Zen, Volume Four).

Hakuin

Once when Zen master Seisetsu was seeing to the rebuilding of part of the monastery where he was teaching, a certain wealthy merchant came with a hundred ounces of gold, saying he wanted to donate it for the reconstruction project. Seisetsu took it without a word.

The next day the merchant came back to visit the Zen master. He remarked, “Although what I gave you was not so great an amount, it was an exceedingly costly donation for me. In spite of that, you didn’t say a word of thanks. Why is that?”

Seisetsu hollered, “I am planting your field of blessings; why should I thank you?”

The merchant was very embarrassed. He apologized and thanked the Zen master.

Core Practice: Keep Your Mind Quiet

Keep-Your-Mind-Quiet3

Our incessant internal dialogue—all of the strategizing, defending, regurgitating and worrying that we do—covers our true nature. When you stop thought, you directly experience that you are made of light, Consciousness, God (you choose your favorite word).

Keeping the mind quiet won’t make you unconscious or an idiot. Rather you become wiser as you begin to see the vast wisdom that is at your core. You’ll find that you begin to understand things without having to think them through and that you have access to greater knowledge that isn’t available to you when your mind is a cyclone of thoughts and concerns.

But keeping your mind quiet is hard to do in our digital, socially-networked world, where we are constantly bombarded with information and never out of reach from…anyone! How do you do it? The answer is simple—you meditate. For instruction on how to meditate, download the free eBook on How to Meditate.

© 2013-2019 Sara Weston. Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on Amazon.com or Amazon UKCA, FR , IT, ES and DE. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Download the How to Be Happy NOW app

Download on the App Store

How to Be Unhappy

(A day in the life, inspired by the use of inversion for illumination. Meant to be humorous—mostly.)

  1. Go to bed latethat 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.
  2. 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!)
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. Talk shit about others! Nothing drags you down more than criticizing colleagues, friends and family.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. Stay indoors a lot—nothing keeps you in the same headspace as staying in the house.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

© 2019 Sara Weston. Sara is the author of How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on Amazon.com or Amazon UKCA, FR , IT, ES and DE. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.