What are the conditions for happiness for you? How many of them are present right now? In this inquiry practice, be firm with your mind so you don’t entertain negative thoughts. We’re not suppressing them, we’re just taking a break. The negative gets a lot of air play. For now, we’re cultivating happiness. You could read through and pause to reflect or listen to the guided practice below.
Happiness doesn’t have to be conditional and it can be helpful to notice the conditions for happiness that are here. By noticing and welcoming happiness, we can help it flourish.
Bring to mind some times you were happy. Vividly bring this forward, using all of your senses. Images. Textures. Sounds. It could be a big event or ordinary moments.
Notice what it feels like in your heart center when you remember a time you were really happy then notice your whole body. Let your breath settle and calm. Soften and relax your whole body. If you feel comfortable and warm, that could be a condition for happiness.
Bring in a memory of something you appreciate. We could be grateful for our sense of sight – beautiful sunsets, faces we love. Beautiful music or birds singing. A puppy or a laughing face. We might be seeing or hearing something wonderful right now or we could remember.
Notice the joy and happiness from your sense of hearing. If the mind is generating thoughts like “other people are so noisy”, remember we’re not entertaining those thoughts right now. Put a period on the sentence. “I love that song.”
Bring your attention to your mouth, tongue and sense of taste. You could imagine something you really enjoyed eating. Use all of your senses – what it looked like, the texture and feel of it in your mouth, the taste. Maybe you’re thinking of a meal enjoyed with family or friends. If there is conflict about food and eating, see if you could set that aside for a moment and focus on the pleasure and joy.
We offer service through our hands and arms. We hug people. We move about in the world through our legs and feet. Pause and focus on that.
What comes up as you consider happiness and your whole body. Feel the pleasure of the sun on your skin in the winter, a warm bath, the exhilaration after a fast walk or run. Keep your mind focused on the positive.
Notice the whole of your body from head to toes. Your breath. Let the memories and thoughts settle and come into a wordless appreciation in your heart center.
What does it feel like right now in your heart center? What does the heart know about happiness and joy?
How does happiness relate to pleasure? Rest with these words. Happiness. Contentment. Satisfaction. Pleasure. Joy.
In yoga there are practices to cultivate pleasant mindedness and contentment. We can’t feel happiness and fear at the same time. Feeling happiness gives us a break from fear and trauma. Not entertaining thoughts of unhappiness creates room for experiencing happiness.
Notice what your body feels like right now. There could be a simple pleasure of ease in our breath. Aaah as our shoulders relax.
Now bring to mind something that would cause you to smile in your real life. Smile and feel that happiness and joy your body. Immerse yourself for a moment. When we’re happy, we’re not holding our breath. It’s smooth and effortless. Our body relaxes. We feel alive!
Set your intention that throughout the day you’ll take a moment to notice and feel. Are some conditions for happiness present right now?