In chasing happiness, we have a tendency to want to tack things onto our lives – new experiences, possessions, and stature. These are external entanglements which like temporary fixes. They never last, and the reason is that the underlying compulsions are still running the show. Lasting fulfillment comes from turning inward and over time, smoothing out our (karmic) conditioning.
To do this, many spiritual practices are recommended across all the traditions. But even simple everyday practices will shift the momentum away from suffering to joy. Let’s look at a few simple ways that anyone can integrate into busy lives. It takes no time.
Show up with heart to every moment. This sets the groundwork and the context in which you function. It’s a call to change your operating system. It brings love to the equation, and that changes everything. You enter the stage with open palms instead of a spear. The face breaks into a smile instead of a frown.
Let gratitude reign. Study after study has shown that mental health is inexorably improved when this is the mindset. Everything just flows because everything is welcomed, even the not so pleasant experiences. Every experience is seen as a gift, and instead of jumping into reaction mode, we are eternally indebted to existence for even allowing us to feel these encounters of even the mundane.
Speaking of automatic reactions, we can instead observe with curiosity how we instinctively are driven to respond in all situations. Normally in a millisecond we are swept up by the circumstance, and our conditioning triggers an auto-response. But can we slow down and watch this process with self-loving curiosity and ask how we might respond differently. And that takes us back to showing up with heart to every moment.
Just go a day with looping through these three offerings and really see them as offerings to others, and to yourself too. At the end of the day, how do you feel? Wow, right?
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