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Your Brain On Bliss November 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.
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IMGP2584bWant to be happier, peaceful, and more content . . . put your mind to it!

Authentic happiness is a way of being and a skill to be cultivated. When we first begin, the mind is vulnerable and untamed, like that of a monkey or a restless child. It takes practice to gain inner peace, inner strength, altruistic love, forbearance, and other qualities that lead to authentic happiness.

When we engage in mindfulness meditation, disturbing thoughts come and go without ruffling our feathers or disturbing our inner peace.

Over time, we become calmer, less impatient, less prone to anger, more resilient, more deliberate in our actions, less scattered in our thoughts, and more serene.   As we begin to master our thoughts, we master our life.

For example, let’s take a mindful look at anger:

[If] we dissociate from anger and look at it with mindfulness, that which is aware of anger is not angry, and we can see that anger is just a bunch of thoughts. Anger doesn’t cut like a knife, burn like a fire, or crush like a rock; it is nothing more than a product of our mind. Instead of “being” the anger, we understand that we are not the anger, in the same way that clouds are not the sky.

So, to deal with anger, we avoid letting our mind jump again and again to the trigger for our anger. Then we look at anger itself and keep our attention upon it. If we stop adding wood to a fire and just watch, the fire will die out. Likewise, anger will vanish away, without being forcibly repressed or allowed to explode.

 When we look within, we dwell without distraction in the present moment.  We see things as they are . . . instead of as we are.

With the dawn of increasing clarity, others lose their power over us and we reclaim our inner power and freedom to be who we are meant to be:

If you cultivate these mental skills, after a while you won’t need to apply contrived efforts anymore. You can deal with mental perturbations like the eagles I see from the window of my hermitage in the Himalayas deal with crows. The crows often attack them, diving at the eagles from above. But, instead of doing all kinds of acrobatics, the eagle simply retracts one wing at the last moment, lets the diving crow pass, and then extends its wing again. The whole thing requires minimal effort and causes little disturbance.

It’s more than just a way of managing the “petty annoyances” in life . . . it’s changing our perspective in such a way that things don’t often rise to the level of “petty annoyance.”   We retrain ourselves to see things as they are, and accept them as they are, without getting our feathers ruffled by the “dive bombers” we encounter along the way.

Developing mindfulness cultivates wisdom and inner freedom, which leads not just to a few moments of fleeting happiness, but to feelings of inner peace and lasting contentment which equate to genuine happiness.

To read the complete article:  This is Your Brain on Bliss

Matthieu Ricard wrote the article as part of Sustainable Happiness, the Winter 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Matthieu has authored seven books, including Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill. He lives at the Shechen monastery in Nepal, travels the world for Karuna-shechen (http://karuna-shechen.org/) and does an annual solitary retreat in the Himalayas.

Science Says: Get Happy!!! November 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, People.
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Increasing our feelings of happiness, joy, and contentment is an attainable and worthwhile goal  . . . with benefits that spill over to everyone we meet on our journey through life.

Mickey-Ta-DaaaHere are 10 scientific strategies for getting happy:

1.  Savor Everyday Moments
2.  Avoid Comparisons
3.  Put Money Low on the List
4.  Have Meaningful Goals
5.  Take Initiative
6.  Make Friends.  Treasure Family.
7.  Smile . . . Even When You Don’t Feel Like it
8.  Say Thank You Like You Mean It
9.  Get Out and Exercise
10.  Give It Away.  Give It Away NOW!

To read the complete article:  10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy

Eyes Wide Open November 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Nature, Sustainable Living.
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_0001cObserving what is happening is the first step in bringing about the paradigm shift we need to manifest if we are to continue to co-exist with Planet Earth.

After all, if people are operating under the illusion that “all is right with the world” what reason would they have to band together to change it?

Quote:  Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

Aah . . . that’s better!