• The Discipline of Becoming Happy

    Happiness is in the right now, in the here. Happiness is a state of mind that needs to be cultivated from within.

    Happiness is a state of mind that requires discipline and the awareness that it is an internal process. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, says that we can achieve happiness by training the mind. We all know from experience that training our mind is one of the most challenging things to do. Our mind likes to play peekaboo with us.

    Think about that time that you were confident about something and you were on your way to get it, maybe a job interview, a date, signing for your first yoga class, or meeting your guru and suddenly your mind starts peekabooing you into insecurities and fears. You start feeling a rush of thoughts, witnessing them as a herd of wild horses destroying any positive thought you had about the situation.

    “What if she or he doesn’t like me?”

    “What if I am not flexible enough (impression of yoga in the west, based only in the physical body not as a spiritual practice)?

    “What if…?”

    All the what ifs come at once.

    Most of those thoughts are manipulated by our ego that hates to be outside of its comfort zone. Disciplining the mind is one of the best investments for your happiness.

    Here are 5 practices that you can incorporate into your life to contribute to your happiness:

    Create daily routines

    Ayurveda teaches us how to live in harmony with nature and honor the place where we live by adapting our diet and practices to the weather, resources, and opportunities of our environment.

    Ayurveda calls daily practices “dinacharya” and in my next blog, I will explain in detail the practice of dinacharya. For right now, as a daily practice, maintain a sense of gratitude before you start your day; before you even get out of bed say a prayer of gratitude.

    Here is an example that one of my teachers Dr. Vassant Lad uses:

    “Dear [insert name of your spiritual connection], you are inside of me, within my very breath, within each bird, each mighty mountain. Your sweet touch reaches everything, and I am well protected. Thank you, [insert name of your spiritual connection], for this beautiful day before me. May joy, love, peace, and compassion be part of my life and all those around me on this day. I am healing and I am healed.”

    Practice emotional hygiene

    The same way that we practice physical and environmental hygiene, we must cultivate emotional hygiene to help us to get rid of anger, fear, anxiety and other low vibrational thoughts and emotions. The secret here is making sure that as we are cleansing our emotional system from those toxic emotions, we cultivate high vibrational ones; you’ve probably heard that wherever your attention and energy goes that is what you will create in your life. This part of the journey toward happiness is linked to the step below.

    Practice awareness

    Being aware of who you want to become creates a path to who you are.

    Find yourself a quiet corner, your car also works, and ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” Take a deep breath and allow the answers to come.

    Happiness requires trust, discipline, and most importantly self-awareness. So don’t expect to get the answer right away, keep focusing your attention on your breath and ask again and again. Trust that the answer will come to you. Perhaps the answer comes in a form of “who I am not” and that is ok; keep focusing your attention on the breath and shift the attention to “who am I” rather than “who I am not”.

    Self-awareness cultivates the gift of observation and non-attachment. In this journey of self-awareness, you’ll learn how to be observant of your own emotions and the reactions and attachments toward those emotions. Your breath is the vehicle that will transport you towards awareness.

    Detach yourself from expectations

    Expecting something from others is always a guaranteed source of unhappiness. We can’t control other people’s thoughts or reactions, neither do we have any control of situations that are happening outside of ourselves. We are conditioned to find happiness through outside sources and not through our inner being. It is normal to expect something from others, the same as others expect certain things from us. I am not saying that having expectations is a bad thing, but when we condition our happiness and wellbeing to other people’s responses then we can easily get hurt.

    Stay present

    Eckhart Tolle in his bestseller “The Power of Now” said “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” It is ok to remember the past to learn from it or to feel happiness from a past experience, nevertheless living in the past can be a source of pain.

    When you find your mind spending too much time in the past, use your breath to bring you back to the present; slowly inhale, retain for a few seconds, and slowly exhale.

    The other side of the coin is spending most of your present daydreaming about your future. In reality, the future is an absolute fantasy most of the time created by our ego, our desires, and our conditioning.

    Being absorbed by the past or the future could also create fear. Living in fear is based in our imagination. Fear isn’t based on facts. We allow our mind to go wild and create scenarios about situations that we think could happen. We infuse those thoughts with our insecurities, belief systems, and past personal experiences to create a story in our head that most of the time never sees the light. In the meanwhile, we live in fear, anxiety, isolation, and anger about something that is only in our minds.

    Happiness is in the right now, in the here. Happiness is a state of mind that needs to be cultivated from within. There is nothing waiting on the other side of a new car, a new home, a new job, or a new partner. Everything that we need to be happy is already built within but looking inside for the pursuit of happiness can be painful as we must climb tall mountains of conditioning, belief systems, disappointments, although in that case, there is something on the other side of that inner work, the gift of happiness.

    By Esther Rodriguez Brown

    Esther Rodriguez Brown was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain. Since a very young age, she showed her passion for helping others and got involved in several social justice organizations.
    She arrived in the United States in 2001 and in 2007 she founded The Embracing Project (TEP), a grass-roots non-profit organization that services children survivors of sex trafficking and gang violence. Until she opened TEP drop-in center, the first in Nevada for children survivors of trafficking, she served youth in the streets of Las Vegas using her car as her main office and many times opening the doors of her home for those youth who needed it. Esther traveled around the world to continue her service to humanity and in particular, children and women survivors of trauma, expanding services in several countries. In 2019, Esther merged TEP with a national organization to focus on her other passion, holistic healing, Yoga, Ayurveda, and Jyotish.

    Esther founded Ego Friendly Living in 2016, a company based on the principle of compassion, self-healing, and self-empowerment, focusing on body, mind, and soul, through the practices of self-care and self-love. Her experience working with vulnerable populations and survivors of complex trauma gives her a unique perspective to facilitate healing practices and to teach how trauma can affect our emotional and physiological bodies.
    Esther has a master’s degree in Psychology. She is an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Vedic Astrologer, and a 200 YTT with studies in Yoga Nidra. Esther travels yearly to India to continue her studies related to body, mind, and soul to share that wisdom with others.

    She is the author of The Power of Your Hands. Mudras for your everyday life. Available in Amazon. She is a recognized national and international speaker and has been recognized in national and international media, documentaries, books, and film and has received many awards for her humanitarian work with children affected by violence.

    Find her on Instagram @Esther_Brown_Inspire
    and on her website, https://www.egofriendlyliving.com.

    Image by Адель Шарипова from Pixabay

  • Interview with Rob Mack (3 Min Read)

    Kind, Positive, Non-Judgmental.

    Where are you from and/or where do you live?
    Los Angeles, CA

    How did yoga come into your life and what has that journey been like for you?
    I discovered yoga through Kino’s work at Miami Life Center. It’s been an ever-evolving journey.

    How has yoga changed and what do you feel it creates in your daily life?
    I feel increasing peace, love, and joy.

    What is yoga to you?
    Yoga is practicing the presence of God (peace, love, and happiness), which we are all infinitely and eternally one with.

    How did you feel after your first yoga class and how do you feel this influences or impacts the space you create for your students?
    My first class was a meditation class, and I feel completely overwhelmed with gratitude.

    Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved and transformed?
    I was a guy deeply dedicated to being happy, but still finding my way.

    Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved and transformed?
    As a child and young adult, I was deeply depressed and suicidal. Through practice, I became a much more present person.

    What has been your biggest struggle and your biggest milestone in the practice, in teaching and within the yoga community?
    Making sense of all the seemingly different and disparate teachings.

    What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga student?
    Having a random stranger tell me he decided not to kill himself that day because he met me.

    Why do you practice?
    There’s nothing else to do, literally.

    Why do you teach?
    Because I can’t not teach.

    What is the single most defining issue facing the global yoga community today?
    Divisiveness (illusory perceptions of separation).

    Do you have any recommended yoga reading?
    I love Ramana Maharshi’s “Be As You Are” Osho’s “The Path of Yoga” and “The Alchemy of Yoga,” and “The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali.”

    Through your own personal journey, what do you feel is your path and offering to the community- local and global?
    Practicing the Presence.

    What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?
    (1) Do it for the joy of it and (2) think of the world as your mat!

    Are there any current projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?
    Two new books will be published this upcoming year (2021), “Love from the Inside Out “ and “Success from the Inside Out.”

    What’s your Favorite Book?
    That’s like choosing my favorite organ! Ha! I love all books by Joel Goldsmith and Eckhart Tolle, “Be as You Are” by Ramana Maharshi, “The Cloud of Unknowing” by Anonymous, “Practicing the Presence” by Brother Lawrence, “White Fire” by Mooji, “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson, “Ashes of Love” by Rupert Spira, “Mediations” by Marcus Aurelius, “At Your Command” by Neville, “Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna,” “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello,

    What’s your favorite meal to make at home?
    A protein shake.

    What do you like to do for fun that’s non-yoga related?
    EVERYTHING is yoga-related in my head! Ha! But I lift weights and read, too…

    Who is your greatest inspiration?
    My mom and dad.

    Do you have a favorite podcast?
    Whichever one I’m featured on that day. Truthfully, I’m more of a reader or even audiobook fan, though.

    If you were stranded on an island what 3 things would you bring with you?
    2 of my favorite books and a boat to drive home.

    When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
    A professional basketball player.

    What’s your favorite movie?
    The Last Dance, Limitless, The Book of Eli, Horrible Bosses, and the Matrix (sorry – couldn’t choose just one!)

    What’s your favorite TV series?
    The Blacklist, Billions, and Cover Affairs. Don’t judge me.

    Do you have a favorite band/singer?
    Jay-Z, Drake, Michael Jackson, Norah Jones

    Favorite song to dance to?
    “Empire State of Mind.”

    What’s your favorite quote/affirmation/mantra?
    “You are what you seek, and you seek what you are… stop that!”  Also, “Be still and know that I AM.”

    What is your life’s biggest question?
    What’s this all for?

    By Rob Mack

    Robert is a happiness coach & author. He writes and speaks to people about how to live happier lives from the inside, out. Robert’s work has been endorsed by Oprah and Vanessa Williams, among many others. In addition to serving as a Celebrity Love Coach for the television show, Famously Single, on E!, Robert has been a featured guest expert for shows like The Today Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, CBS Early Show, The Balancing Act, and AskHer.com and magazines like Self, Health, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Upscale. Robert has also served as a National Media Spokesperson, Management Consultant, and Executive Coach for companies like Capital One, FitBit, Buffalo Wild Wings, Microsoft, Carnival Cruise Lines, Deloitte Consulting, McCormick & Spice, IFF, Plus Consulting, and Falcon Credit Management. Robert was born in Pennsylvania. He was educated at Swarthmore College, where he received his Bachelors of Science in Psychology, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (M.A.P.P.), an ivy-league degree held by only a few dozen people in the world. Robert lives in Los Angeles.

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