I feel happiness is a choice that we make in every moment. I am not talking about happiness that is dependent on the outside world, like buying a new car or a house. That happiness is transient. Once the bill for the monthly car payments or the mortgage arrives, our happiness can turn into distress.
Happiness is also an emotion. We should experience all emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear with equanimity and let them flow through us like clouds so we don’t accumulate them as blockages or density. But underneath it all, we have ever shining Sun of the True Self --Sat (Truth), Chit (Pure consciousness), and Ananda (Bliss or Happiness).
During my divorce I went through a “Why me?” phase filled with emotions of shame, guilt, anger, resentment, regret, and fear of unknown. But, my patients loved my visits with them. They told me they felt good in my presence because I was so joyful. I could not believe that I was seen as a joyful person during the most stressful time of my life. Then I realized that my spiritual practices were helping me access this inner joy. I would like to share my happiness practices with you.
- Every few minutes throughout the day, I access the present moment by witnessing my breathing, then I exhale and smile. Focusing on my breathing brings my consciousness from the outside to my inner world. Exhalation helps me let go of everything I am holding, it relaxes my body, and opens me up to receive.
- Be authentic and express my Truth fearlessly. I had to let go of all façade and living up to other people’s expectations of me.
- Know that I am the Master or my life and creator of my reality. I had to stop blaming people and take 100% responsibility for my life.
- Make conscious choices and decisions, instead of letting others and life decide for me.
- Learn to say “No” when people make unreasonable requests. I learned that it is important to set healthy boundaries and stop pleasing people.
- Make decisions from my heart and follow my intuition. If it does not feel right, I don’t do it.
- When things are not working out in my favor or when indecisiveness kicks in-- I surrender, trust and let go and let Divine Will take over.
- Don’t carry my burdens alone. I ask for help from a trusted friend, a neighbor or a family member when needed. I am not afraid to go to a counselor or spiritual teacher if I am going through crisis. I realized that being vulnerable and asking for help from others are signs of strength.
- Connect to my eternal self through meditation and prayers daily. I am learning to disconnect from body consciousness as much as possible because it is always changing and causes sorrow. I constantly remind myself that “My body is not me but mine” and that “I am Divinity, Love, Light, and Peace”.
- Love and nurture my body. I realized that I get to enjoy my life on this planet through various experiences because of my physical body. Therefore I regularly do things to take care of my body such as cooking and eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep and doing moderate exercise daily. Exercise releases endorphins or Happy Hormones.
- Live from inside out --let everything that is meant for me come to me instead of running after things.
- Embrace my uniqueness. I have noticed that nothing good comes out of comparing myself to others.
- Replace self-criticism with self-confidence. My mantra when self-doubt kicks in is “All my thoughts, words, and actions are Divinely guided”.
- Practice four keys to freedom – unconditional love, gratitude, acceptance, and forgiveness for myself and others.
- Pay attention to good news and good things happening around me.
- Do my very best in every situation with a good heart so I have no regrets.
- Be honest and live with integrity. Do the right thing when no one is watching. I have noticed that this eliminates fear.
- Laugh. Have fun. I do things that make me happy on regular basis such as getting a massage, pedicure, reading a book, watching a movie, or expressing my creativity.
- Spend time in nature, with my kids and like-minded friends on a regular basis.
- Schedule do nothing or Me times on a daily basis.
- Keep pushing my boundaries, trying new things, and traveling to new places when I can.
- Have positive thoughts and make positive statements about myself such as “I am a kind, caring, loving and compassionate person. I am enough. I am whole. I am worthy.”
- Drop as many walls as possible and start trusting people. I had to start believing that people in my life are blessings and they are there to help me.
- Notice coincidences and synchronicities even if they are small. For example, in recurring numbers, music, rainbows, feathers, billboard signs, or complete strangers helping me.
- Just like all big organizations - have a personal mission, vision and value statement. This reminds me when I am not living in alignment.
- Know that my life is not about ME; therefore, I include selfless service on a regular basis.
- Simplify. I noticed that the less things I have and own, the less I have to worry about.
- Dynamic stillness. This practice helped me the most through and after my divorce, which is the key teaching of my spiritual teacher which is to keep my mind anchored in the lower abdomen (second Chakra), my heart open, and smile. The anchored mind helps grounds my energy, open heart aligns me with synchronistic flow and purposeful smiling helps with energy flow by opening up energetic channels in my body. This also decreases the constant loops of negative and fearful thinking that goes on in my brain and in turn relaxes my brain and gives me clarity to make right choices.
In spiritual traditions of Hinduism, the person who has mastered the art of happiness is given the title of Swami (master) as a prefix and the word Ananda is added to the end of their (spiritual) name. I have by no means mastered the art of happiness; therefore, I continue to use these practices of self-love and self-care on a regular basis to source happiness from within. When I struggle with these practices, I embrace my humanity and practice self-compassion. I tell myself “It is okay to make mistakes or mess up as long as I don’t give up.”
We are beings made of electromagnetic energy fields, therefore we affect everyone and everything around us—just like The Butterfly Effect. Can you imagine what our families, workplaces, communities and life on our entire planet Earth would be like if everyone took responsibility for their happiness? My wish for everyone reading this is to have a blessed life filled with everlasting happiness.