For the month of January, in our classes, we've been focused on finding joy and happiness. Not from any external source but within ourselves. Our true selves, our essence, our souls are where we can connect with these feelings but often we have difficulty making the connection. When we are babies, our souls are pure. Purely blissful, purely happy & unbiased. Babies do not judge themselves or anyone else. Babies are not concerned with what if's, they are mindful and present in each moment they are in. Throughout our life experiences however, this mindset becomes altered. How we respond to certain expereiences, and changes, people, stressors, problems etc., cause emotional responses that in turn affect our bliss. We become anxious, angry, depressed, overwhelmed, sad, biased, & cynical. Completely affected and altered by our perceptions and attachments to certain feelings, and then, these attachments become our new default. When faced with a stressful situation we automatically respond with anxiety, fear, anger, etc. If we can re-train ourselves to observe and not judge, to watch and not react, to move through our lives with equanimity, we would be able to allow our inner joy to resurface. Learning to see things through a neutral eye can greatly reduce our suffering, for we are the creators of our own misery. Setting expectations also sets us up for suffering. Embarking on tasks and experiences, meeting new people, trying something new, relocating, can all be so much less stressful if we approach them without expectation and with an open mind and heart. Our minds are so very powerful but I believe that we can regain control over our negative thought patterns and reclaim happiness.
In class, we've done a visualization meditation about one of your happiest memories or experiences and I ask you to completely immerse yourself in it. With sight, sound, scents, notice how you feel there, who else is with you? Really allowing for the feeling of joy to permeate all parts of you and then letting yourself rest in that. You don't need me to recapture this feeling. You have it within your mind and heart to do so, you just have to give yourself permission to be still long enough to allow it to happen. These memories and experiences are always available to you whenever you need them so take the time to re visit them. Often. I'm not one for New Years' resolutions but if you want to do something different this year, I'd like to invite and encourage you to take the time to find your bliss and once you do, visit there over, and over, and over. I promise you, it never gets old!