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)?
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.
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.
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.
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