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Your Brain On Bliss November 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.

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.


1. Cindy - November 9, 2010

Thank you Nancy, and good night. xxx

nrhatch - November 9, 2010

Sweet dreams!

2. Ollin - November 9, 2010

Thank you for reminding us!

Btw, thank you for letting me know about the Nature Made contest! I’m currently at 872 votes, I’m around the top 70! Who knows what will happen by tomorrow, but if it wasn’t for YOU and that post I never would have entered. So thank you, thank you, thank you! For all the inspiration and all the encouragement. 🙂

nrhatch - November 9, 2010

That’s awesome. What a nice feeling to know that you’re in the top 10% of applicants and still climbing!!!

I’ll post a link on FB. I meant to do it yesterday when I read your article and forgot.

3. souldipper - November 9, 2010

“[If] we dissociate from anger and look at it with mindfulness, that which is aware of anger is not angry…”

Profoundly insightful. This is the very reason that the Wise Desert Fathers taught and passed on the concept of developing an Observer.

nrhatch - November 14, 2010

The role of the “detached observer” provides great clarity in all types of situations.

4. thysleroux - November 10, 2010

Interesting insights in here! 🙂

nrhatch - November 10, 2010

The more mindful I become . . . the more in control I feel.

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