To many of us, joyfulness happens when external circumstances are going our way. When things are happening the way we want them to be, we are joyful; we are happy. And when things inevitably don’t go our way, then we are unhappy. We get upset, we complain, we become unpleasant. But let’s not just take this standard for granted, let’s examine it a little bit. When we just allow this to happen, are we not allowing external circumstances hijack our wellbeing? Are we not giving power away and letting other people or other circumstances dictate our inner state? Would it not be wiser to take back that personal control to remain in a joyful state no matter what happens externally? To live unconsciously means our emotions are on auto-pilot: if something we perceive is bad happens, then we just react negatively and our joy evaporates. To live consciously means we take ownership over how we are, how we feel. It doesn’t have to be a compulsive reactionary response, one can take 100% control over themselves. That is one aspect of yogic practices.
To get started on this path of living consciously and joyfully, here are 5 tips:
- Do a daily life audit: At the end of the day, ask “am I a little more joyful today than I was yesterday?” Keep an account of whether you are becoming more joyful, or less joyful. How joyful are you, and how much joy are you spreading to others?
- Remember life is brief: Live every moment knowing that you are physically here on earth as a person for a limited time. If you live like this, would there be time to fight, to allow negativity to seep in, to let something outside of you dictate how you are inside?
- Take charge of your happiness: Your life and your experience of your life is absolutely your making. You are 100% responsible for your perception of everything that happens to you. The same event is interpreted in so many different ways by different people, so that proves that it’s not what happens but how we take it that matters.
- Set everything aside before bed: Do not take with you all things that are not you. All the contents of your thoughts – they are thoughts, they are not you. Set them aside before bed. Don’t worry, they will be there when you wake up! Set them aside before sleeping.
- Practice 5 minutes of love: Contrary to what we think, you don’t need an object to have love. You don’t need an other to love. You can simply be loving, and whatever comes is caught in that sweetness. Your love is not dependent on something, it simply pervades your being. Practice that for 5 minutes at least.
The brain being the most complex organ that exists on this planet, how are we using it? Are we using it to make ourselves miserable or joyful? So many people in the world have this problem, that whatever happens to them, they have a long face about it. And others, those we think of as truly wise, saintly, spiritual masters of one tradition or another – they exude love and joy. If you can walk through this life joyfully, then what are the problems? There are no problems. Your happiness is not at the stake of circumstances but founded in your own being. But if you create inner battles over life happenings, then everything is a problem. No matter what ingredients life throws at you, cook it up into a recipe of joy, and of love. People can be that way, people have been that way, you can be that way.
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