For most of my life I have been lead by the illusion that things outside of me will make me happy. That one should seek worldly things, possessions, other people, certain experiences and anything else that gives them that feeling called happiness. Then by holding onto these things we can maintain this feeling and live a happy life. Many people claim they ‘just want to be happy’ and it is the objective for lots of parents when you ask what they wish for their children, ‘I just want him/her to be happy’ they’ll say.
This concept of things in our external environment making us happy is easy to accept when we correlate our energy increases and feelings of happiness occur when certain events happen or when we get something we desire. So our environment and our experiences can increase our happiness just like when we share with loved ones, however the illusion is that holding onto these things for our eternal happiness is where the problem arises. Because of the transient nature of these things, and the feeling they elicit, they cannot last. After all, our internal state is what we live with moment to moment and day after day. It is the only thing that never leaves us because it is us. Therefore what most people are alluding to when they say ‘I just want to be happy’ is a sense of inner peace and emotional fulfillment, rather than the emptiness in their hearts or the turmoil in their lives.
A more enduring term for happiness is joy, as joy is an intrinsic feeling and a state of well-being that never leaves you. So how do we develop this internal state that brings us peace and joy?
A good start is accepting yourself as you are, without judgments and without comparing yourself to external standards or viewing yourself through the eyes of society. Appreciating yourself and perceiving the world around you through loving eyes is a choice and not something we need years of therapy to learn but simply a choice we can commit to. Feeling our bodies in an accepting, non-judgmental and curious way also promotes physical health by assisting us to let go of unconscious contractions that promote disease thus allowing healing energy to flow more freely.
By cultivating this new perspective through self reflection and self inquiry we can begin to see what perspectives and correlating thoughts and feelings serve us and those that don’t; then we can create change. To change energy obviously takes energy and this is when people start to tune out, when they decide it’s probably not worth the effort. But staying within our comfort zone in relation to any aspect of life is not conducive to growth. Being an athlete an obvious example of this is that as the training accumulates, everything must respond and you are rewarded in line with your effort. The training provides a stimulus and the body responds with repair and growth. You get what you give.
A commitment to change our perspective will also pave the way to increased self-awareness and to becoming self-fulfilled or self-realized. It is by reconnecting to our essence, our spirit, and discovering what we are passionate about and then letting joy lead us in our daily choices. Meditation is a useful tool to observe our thoughts and learn more about ourselves. Tension is also counter-productive for mental focus and sports performance so relaxation techniques can also be beneficial in assisting us to be and do our best. Another powerful tool and perhaps the simplest one of all is being present in the moment as often as possible.
Occupy your body, tune into it, instead of being disconnected or trying to control it and then use your senses to anchor you in what is happening around you at this present moment; reconnecting you to yourself and tuning into the greater power. The power of now as Eckhart Tolle describes is the only power we have for we only ever have this moment, there is no such thing as time for the past and future is only psychological time created by our mind, our ego. Instead of ‘tuning out’ and being captives of our mind, either being absorbed in a future we are projecting or being consumed by our past experiences, we can let go of the chatter in our minds and be here now. Tune in to what is.
Furthermore, we can decide to use our mind instead of letting it run wild and repeat the same thoughts we had the day before and the day before that etc. Our mind can be used as a powerful alley in the co-creation of our reality or it can be our greatest enemy, we just need to decide which it will be. Our mind is the brain in motion and our emotions are energy in motion, so our thoughts and feelings are energy, just like us and the entire universe.
Quantum physics and other science streams have provided a new paradigm for our reality and proven some of the most ancient traditions including the value of energetic healing. But the most empowering of this new information is the realization that we co-create our reality and that we have choice and the ability to manifest our desires. Our mind perceives the world around us and filters it through our individual lens that is coloured by all of our past experiences, thoughts, feelings, desires and attachments and so it is only by cleansing the lens of our mind through increasing our awareness/consciousness that we can perceive more clearly what is.
Each one of us has unique gifts and talents that we can express in the world and by discovering this we can then explore, dream and create joyously. When you deny your true self, after a while the spirit rebels, and if the head is out of balance with the heart, the body will suffer. By aligning our head with our heart we can develop an inner vision and strive towards it in a be, do, be, do, be, do type fashion as described by Deepak Chopra. Where we ‘be’ and receive inspiration and then we ‘do’ by expressing and taking action to bring it into reality. So focus on what you can do and take the steps towards it, no matter how small they may be, for the longest journey begins with a single step. Each of us has our own truth or will and we have been given this opportunity to have a human experience and be an authentic expression of this.
Having discussed our perception we must also be aware of our expression or our intention, the intention behind our actions is very important. To simplify intention, there are 2 ways in which a person can act, out of love or out of fear. When we act out of love (any positive motivation; joy, love, compassion) we create more love but when we act out of fear (any negative motivation; jealousy, guilt, grief) we create more fear. Through self understanding we will be able to discern when we act out of love (inspired by our heart/spirit) and when we act out of fear (driven by ego/mind). It can get tricky as sometimes when we think we are acting out of love, such as helping a friend, sometimes we are actually acting out of fear if we are only helping because we ‘think we should’ and not because we simply want to. Unconditional love or unselfish giving is actually a proven way to immediately increase your joy. This can be done by practicing kindness, compassion, caring for others, animals or plants, being a good listener – all the small things that cost only your time and energy. The energy of Love. Tools to cultivate peace and joy:
• Practice being present as often as possible.
• Give thanks; have an attitude of gratitude (this is easier when you are present and can look at the world in wonderment, with ‘fresh eyes’, in awe of all that is).
• Unselfish giving through unconditional love.
• Self enquiry: ‘The wise man doesn’t answer questions, he questions answers’ question why you think a certain way? Why do you compare? Why do you do what you do? How can you be your best and do your best?
• Self awareness/meditation/relaxation techniques: the ‘be’ part, receiving.
• Authentic expression of self: the ‘do’ part, expressing.
“When we cultivate inner peace we bring love and light into the world” – Victoria Mitchell
Victoria is an Australian runner training towards London Olympics 2012. Her desire is to be a full time athlete again and she would be delighted by any sponsorship opportunities. In the meantime she enjoys writing and developing ways to empower others via:
B.Do ‘Empowering you…to be your best and do your best’
- Kinesiology and Reiki
- Motivational Speaking
- Life Coaching
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