I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but increasingly I see one specific aspect of living in today’s world as a key to happiness.
What is it, you ask?
Sounds all too simple to have such a significant influence on our joy and wellbeing, but hear me out.
Many people (in fact, who doesn’t?) wants this world to be a better place. We want there to be less suffering and more compassion. We want less war and more understanding. Less disease and more wellbeing.
The only true way to contribute to that world is to start in your immediate circle, in your own backyard.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
But how can we do this? How can we choose to respond with more loving kindness and compassion, when we are always in our heads; either thinking of the past with regret or thinking of the future with anxiety?
We are stressed out most of the time. We are reactive to the events in our lives rather than proactive.
If we are living in an unconscious way, from our habits, then how can we choose to be different if we aren’t truly present?
Before we can be that change, we must work on being more present in our lives. When we are present, we can choose how to respond. We can choose our words and thoughts to be kinder. We are be-ing from a more positive place.
Reflection on Mindfulness
Think about the last time you were in conflict with someone or some situation.
What were you thinking? Were you in the past or future or were you truly present? What was your body language? What did you say?
If you are like most of us, you were reacting from fear, reliving a past event, or you were projecting into the future with anxious thoughts. You were in a reactive mode.
Since we are always in our heads (no wonder we get headaches all the time!) there is always chatter of our thoughts. There is always this noise.
Sit still for five minutes (go ahead and put your alarm on). Sit. And breathe. Close your eyes. Without the power of sight our other senses become more engaged. Notice what you hear around you, near, and then far. How do your clothes feel on your body? Your body in the chair and feet on the floor? What do you taste? And what do you smell? Finally, open your eyes when the alarm goes off and notice what you see first. Give yourself another minute or two to be still.
According to mindfulness expert Eckhart Tolle engaging our senses is the gateway to presence. This exercise takes us out of our heads and into the feeling sense of our physical body.
This is truly the most important endeavor you can take today. BE PRESENT.
We only have this moment in time to live our lives. Smile. Things will shift. You can handle it, or if you can’t, get some help from others. You were made for this moment. Shine.