Are you happy right now? I mean, REALLY happy? If you were, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article, so I’ll assume that there’s room for improvement.
Unhappiness, or at least dissatisfaction, is kind of the norm these days, at least if you’re over the age of about two. What’s interesting, if you stop to think about it, is that most unhappiness is not actually due to something that’s happening right now, but is in fact related to something that happened, or didn’t happen, in the past, or something that may, or may not, happen in the future.
Have you ever found yourself fuming, hours later, about an argument you had earlier in the day? Possibly kicking yourself for not being able to come up with a clever comeback at the time, whereas you’ve come up with several really good ones, now, when it’s too late. Or been miserable because the guy you met in the bar, and really hit it off with, you thought, hasn’t called, even though he SAID he’d call you the next afternoon?
Have you ever lost sleep because you were so worried about an upcoming exam (or job interview, blind date..)? I can remember spending my last few hours in Australia, not enjoying the day, but worrying about the massive amount we were going to have to pay the airline if they weighed our luggage and found it to be too heavy.
The thing is – your mind is very good at coming up with ‘stories’ about things that may happen – horrible things that will ruin your life. Your boyfriend seemed a little distant this evening – and, now that you think about it, he seemed to pay more attention to that pretty waitress than he did to you. Clearly he’s unhappy in the relationship, and ready to end the whole thing! And who on earth else would ever want to be with you, since you’re so wholly undesirable. In fact, you’re bound to spend your life alone, lonely and unwanted… Your mind can do an amazing job at building mountains our of the smallest molehill.
If you’re willing to put that all aside, and just focus on the present moment, exactly as it is, without the ‘stories’, then you’re ready to take the first step towards happiness. Not just inner peace or serenity, either, although that may be what you achieve first. Keep up with the practice, and you may find that it takes you to a place of exuberant, joyous, blissful happiness. To get started, breathe. Focus on the feeling of the air on your cheeks, the blood flowing through the veins in your fingers, the feeling of the snow crunching beneath your boots… Stay with it for a few minutes – and remember to smile, if you feel moved to do so