What I know for sure is that every single human is seeking to be happy or to be happier. Everyone is seeking to know and feel what true happiness really is. That's why today there is a whole field devoted to researching happiness. It's a universal thing...
Yet what I also know to be true, from my own journey and from bearing witness to the human condition, is that we keep seeking happiness in the outer world, in anything or anyone outside of ourselves. We keep believing that we will attain it when life isn't as difficult, when we get "back to normal" or when I don't get any more evil looks from my teenage kids or maybe in the BMW that I just got that's just sitting there in my driveway.
How is seeking happiness in everything and anything outside of ourselves working so far?
I'm not sure that it is. I know it has never really worked for me. Sure enjoy the things of this world, enjoy the BMW and the new yoga outfit or the next level of achievement of success but to continue to believe that this is happiness continues to make happiness elusive, fleeting...just beyond our grasp, always in the next thing or when life isn't so damn difficult anymore...
I heard this the other day from a lovely singer by the name of Nightbirde featured on America's Got Talent. My father, who loves the show, insisted on having me watch it when I dropped by for some tea one afternoon.
"You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore till you decide to be happy"
This statement came from a singer who at the time had a 2% chance of surviving cancer! That's a big WOW! Those words became the inspiration for this post and the next meditation session I am creating. It's so true in every way. Yet how to do it. How to be happy even when life is difficult.
Well, that is where meditation comes in baby!
Meditation actually rewires your brain for happiness. Meditation actually resets your internal happiness set point because, over time, you are relying less on external forces to "make you happy", you are beginning to know how to create that happiness within.
Until I discovered meditation, it always mades sense, on some level that "happiness is an inside job" - that of course I was responsible for my happiness; I just didn't know how to access it, create it and magnify it within myself.
What meditation has also helped me with when it comes to happiness is that happiness is in All of It! Happiness is not just when life is rosy and cozy and smiles and giggles abound.
Being more inwardly connected I have come to understand and importantly be aware of the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm better at noticing life instead of feeling like it's blasting away right before my eyes - which makes me happier. I've gotten better at being with even the darkest of moments, understanding that this is my life; my one wild and precious life is all of it...and I don't want to waste any more of it...this is happiness.
One of my favourite movies is "Hectors Search for Happiness" with Simon Peg. It's about a psychiatrist who finds himself very lost and lifeless and not feeling like he is really able to help any of his patients who all essentially want the same thing - happiness! So he goes on a trip to research happiness - what makes us happy. At the end of the movie (I'm not giving it all away here so don't worry) he finds his brain hooked up to this contraption by a professor friend and happiness researcher. Hector has been on quite the journey so far, over multiple countries. He's faced sadness, anger, love, loss and even his own mortality and so as he's hooked up to this happiness measuring machine, he finds himself recalling his entire journey - he's laughing like he's never laughed before, he's crying tears of sadness which he's never been able to feel before...he's feeling all of it!
In that moment he realizes and so does the professor that happiness is all of it! It's such a beautiful part of the story and it brings me to tears with it's truth each time I see it.
Yes, meditation, as a practice rewires the brain & the body setting you up for happiness.
Yes, meditation begins to help us be able to seek and feel that happiness within us in each moment and become less reliant on the external world to provide it.
But Meditation also begins to help us see that happiness is in "All of it"...helping us better navigate the rides and tides of life so we can begin to see the wonder and grace all around us...available the more we are able to turn our gaze inward and therefore towards all of life...our life.
But just in case you need a list of the top reasons meditation works to make you happier, here you are just a few:
1) More restful sleep - meditation can help you let go of those swirling thoughts so you sleep better and when you sleep better, you're just happier
2) Meditation improves mind wandering - it dials down the part of the brain responsible for it, so instead of ruminating and worrying as much, we are better able to focus on what matters and that just makes us happier!
3) Meditation awakens the creative part of our brain (yes, even for you non-creative types) and when we are creative, creating something, coming up with new ideas and solutions instead of focusing on issues and problems - well we're just happier!
4) Meditation rewires your brain so neural pathways responsible for fearful thoughts are weaker, we feel more like a warrior and feeling more like a warrior makes us happier!
5) Meditation opens up kindness and empathy - talk about the power of heart centred living, well through meditation you are actively opening up the heart and more able to then experience new levels of elevated emotions for yourself and others, this just makes us happier!
6) Meditation leads to a healthier body - when the brain is calmer we shift from fight of flight (not happy mode) into all is well - rest and recovery mode; in rest and recovery mode we engage our bodies life systems to function more optimally to serve and support us. When we are feeling healthier we are just happier!
7) Meditation ramps up our internal happiness biochemistry, releasing "feel good" hormones and endorphins, like serotonin. Less stress hormones floating around and more feel good hormones just makes us happier...
So there it is awesome one...
Meditate and be Happy!
From the seat...
your Meditation Coach