When we think of happiness or the desire to be happy our mind often floats off to something that will make us happy. We think of cake, cars, people, places or events. We look to the external conditions of our life to guide us into happiness. However what makes us happy one day may not the next. What makes us happy once may not make us happy on the second or third occurrence. We may say chocolate cake makes us happy but try eating a whole cake, it will make you sick. If we rely on what is outside of us for our sense of well being then we will always be chasing for more and better as the goal of our happiness will always be changing or moving slightly out of our reach.
True happiness actually is a state, not something that we can grasp for. This state of well being is something that can be cultivated, however with a little understanding of mind training you can start right now.
The first thing to think about is if you are angry, jealous, grasping or any negative state you obviously are not happy. The two states can not co-exist. You can’t be angry and happy. You can’t be sad and happy. You can’t be hateful and loving. You can only be one of those things at any one time. The converse is true. The natural antidotes of jealousy, anger, hatred are compassion, joy and love.
But how do we switch from one state to the other? This is where mind training comes in and an understanding we have a choice in which state to be in. If we sit in anger or other negative states what we do is we strengthen that pathway in our brain. We make those feelings stronger and harder to shift. If we sit in love, compassion and understanding we strengthen those pathways. This is our first choice, which pathways to strengthen. This can be done by being aware of what we are sitting in and choosing the opposite.
What we can do is change our perspective on how we see the world. It really is a choice. We can be sitting in traffic and getting really annoyed or we can just be sitting in traffic happy to have some me time. We could be walking outside and it starts to rain hard so we get wet and upset or we can just get wet and enjoy the feeling of the water on our body. We can be given too much work to do and feel negative or we can rejoice that we have a job at all.
Practice for today: Choose what state to cultivate to bring more happiness to your world. The next time you have a negative feeling say to yourself ‘I can now choose which state to be in’.’ I can look at this all and watch it dissolve’. ‘I can reinforce the state of happiness inside me’. This is a practice, start now. Rewire your brain.