By Wannabe Happy
True happiness is knowing you are on the right path. We are moving into the last half of the 8 weeks to happiness. You have learned how to breathe and have been introduced to meditation. You have incorporated yoga poses into your daily activities, which will allow you to bring awareness to your breath. You have also developed concepts to broaden your view on who you are and your effect on the world. As we move into week 5, we will introduce concepts that will help you see the truth in life, see your path, see true happiness. Opening up your mind through yoga and meditation is critical to calming the thoughts that can draw us away from what we are about to experience in week 5. So continue to use what you have learned, continue to make the principles and concepts from weeks 1 – 4 a part of your life. Through practice, you will see the truth and you will know you are on the right path, the path to happiness.
Day 1: Understanding labels.
Describe a jar of jelly. Yes, with a pen and paper, write down the characteristics that will allow a person not familiar with this ingredient understand what it is. Use your own words, just let the description flow, whatever comes to your mind. Also, find out how others say the word jelly in other parts of the world, and if this ingredient is even used in that culture. This is training us to understand labels, understand that the name we have put on a person, place or thing is to allow us to communicate and identify that person, place or thing when we are talking to another person in our own language. If you go to another part of the world, that person, place or thing may not have the same name. What does that say about labels we put on people and, most importantly, the label we put on ourselves? Concentrate on that concept. Think about how the conventional truths we use to identify with the world around us may not necessarily be the actual truth about that object or person. Spend time today contemplating that thought as you go about your day.
Day 2: I am who I am.
Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat the following five times… “I am who I am.” Believe this, the world does not define you. The labels put on you are not real, they are not the true nature of your being. You are who you are and nothing more. Happiness is a state of mind, it exist inside of you, in your natural state, in your own existence, in your own being. Hold this concept with you dearly and allow this to sink in deeply. Grasping the concept of “you are who you are” will assist you in not experiencing downs when criticized, as well as not always searching for others acceptance or approval.
Day 3: Basic Meditation Exercise.
Light a candle with a solid base that can stand on its own (not a birthday candle). Place the candle in front of you, far enough to where your neck is comfortable, but close enough to where you can see the flame. For 15 seconds, observe the flame, the colors of the flame, really try to grasp the image of the flame. At the end of the 15 seconds, close your eyes and try to bring the image of the flame back to memory. Sit with your eyes closed, trying to bring back to your memory the colors, the flow and the movement of the flame. Open your eyes once more and look at the flame again for 15 seconds with deep concentration, attempting to bring a more vivid image to your mind. Once again close your eyes for 15 seconds and bring the image of the flame back to your mind. The best possible image you can bring to your mind. Be careful with the flame, making sure the candle is in a safe place for when you close your eyes. Be sure to not burn yourself or destroy anything around you. Meditation is not a trance, it is awareness. This exercise is to practice the true meaning of meditation, which is mental development, mind control, seeing things for the way they really are in the present moment. This is important because where the mind goes the body tends to follow.
Day 4: Observing change.
Look back on your day today if it is the evening or midday. If you are doing this in the morning then reflect on yesterday. Think about how your moods changed throughout the day, how you felt up, how you felt down, how you felt anxious, or how you felt relaxed. Notice the change that occurred during the day. Understand that change, embrace that change, but do not let those changing emotions and feelings define who you are as a person. You are who you are and nothing more. This includes the growth and change you experience on a day-to-day basis. You are not the same as you were yesterday. You are not the same as you were one hour ago. You are who you are right now in this moment. Accept that and embrace it.
Day 5: Your plans (Noticing Change).
In Day 5, week 4 (and week 1) we discussed setting goals, making plans and developing a way to achieve something we would really like to do in our life. I would like for you to notice how those plans changed from week 1 to week 4. How you had to contemplate what it was you really wanted, desired or wanted to strive for in your life. Notice how the suggestion of Paris caused you to rethink your goal or plan. Also notice how when you had to truly think through how to execute those plans, you really did not know where to begin. Your plans are good. Keep them close to you, because we all needs goals and something to strive toward, however, we need to guide those thoughts as well. For today, just observe how those plans changed over the weeks. This is important to do in order to grasp the concept we will introduce in Week 6. We are going to introduce the concept of how your desires can actually impede happiness or even worse, lead to suffering.
Day 6 & 7: “Weekend”.
These two days we will consider our weekend. Like all weekends, we either rest from our week or catch up on what we missed out on during the week. Take the same approach here. Either revisit a concept from Days 1-5 of this week or from the previous weeks that you enjoyed or didn’t quite grasp totally. Whether it is doing the yoga poses, trying another vegan, vegetarian or healthy restaurant or practicing some of the meditation techniques. Think about the week and continue to practice the principles learned. Continue trying to make them a habit in your life.
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