According to the app from Iphone, how happy we are depends on one thing and it is not what we are doing but rather how present we are to what we are doing that counts. This is known as mindfulness and so to enjoy a happy life we need to get really present.
Patanjali also offers his age old wisdom to happiness by providing us with four ways of being. These he says will bring us to a state of non-reactivity and eventually presence. If we practice these we will find peace. Presence comes from non reacting. It’s that little space when we have a choice of how to be and we choose the suitable response that leads us towards a more graceful way to live.
1) Cultivate an attitude of friendliness. Simply translated be nice, be kind, be helpful. Basic friendliness is something many of us aspire to but lose in a moment of tiredness or selfishness. Sometimes we even forget to adopt a friendly attitude to ourselves. We berate ourselves, judge ourselves, talk to ourselves as we would never talk to anyone we love. We get lost in what we could regard as the bad neighborhood of ourselves. The ‘bad’ part of ourselves wanting to beat up on our ‘good’ side.
2)Show some compassion for the unhappy. Empathy is the ability to sense and feel what a person is going through as if it was you yourself.
3) Be happy to towards others successes. How you react to someones good news is a barometer of how abundant you feel. If you feel lack you are likely to feel jealous if someone wins something, gets that dream job, finds a partner or loses weight. Someone exceeding where you have not may throw your practice back a few steps. If this is you, take some time out to examine where these feelings are coming from.
4) Try not to attach to what you see as bad or wrong in life. If someone does something that you think is ‘bad’ and you attach to this with your thoughts and judgements you are opening yourself up for unhappiness. This doesn’t mean that you approve of the behaviour or you ignore it, it means you disregard your feelings towards it and try not to react.
Our practice is working if everyday we become a little kinder and a little less selfish. We can only do this if we sit with ourselves and watch our thoughts, our patterns of behaviour, the way we react. The practice of yin is perfect breeding ground to study how we are and contemplate Patanjalis words of wisdom.
Photo credit: Jo Phee Yin Yoga