[Monday Message] Best Bet for Happiness

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
-Helen Keller

One of the many reasons it is important to stay present is that it allows us the opportunity to be happy. If you focus on the past or the future, you are not in the present. You will only be able to appreciate this moment now by being in it. Otherwise you will look back, once it is gone, and feel regret that you have lost something. If you can be in this moment now, you can fully experience it. When this moment has passed, continue to be in the present moment. The happiness and joy that is available to you will be readily apparent and you can just reach out and claim it. Being present is the surest way of maintaining joy in your life, even if the levels and flavor of that joy change.

In Bön Po, it is said that happiness is always there, within us, but we let the day-to-day distractions get in the way of experiencing it. When we do manage to connect with it, happiness can heal all of the bad moments we’ve had up until that moment, if we let it. Happiness is a choice, a focus, a matter of perspective. Even undesirable circumstances can generate happiness, if you can find meaning in them. Look for what a situation teaches you about yourself, and you can shift your perspective on that occurrence from misery to happiness. According to the Bön, one should always strive for happiness in all things.

Put aside all of your thoughts about the past. If they continue to happen, work to not participate in them, make them background chatter. Focus on now. What is the opportunity in this moment? What is the Universe offering you in this moment? What is the gift of this moment? Create a sort of character sketch of the moment that you are in, repeatedly, doing this as often as you can, until it becomes habit to be aware of what is going on in the now. Ignoring the background chatter gets easier.

A happiness meditation from Nyima Dakpa Rinpoche:

Start by remembering something that has brought you deep happiness in the past, so that you can connect with the feeling of it, but once you are practiced at this, don’t associate your happiness with anything outside of yourself. As you focus on the feeling, allow it to grow through you, touching every cell in your body, filling and clearing your chakras. Sit in that feeling, focusing on it, to exclusion of all else. Obviously, this will take some practice, because focus (and meditation) is a muscle that needs to be exercised, like most spiritual tools. Eventually, your life will become happier, because you are starting and ending your day with happiness, and it will permeate the rest of your life.

This post is part of a new series called Monday Message, based on that day’s reflection from 365 Days to Enlightenment (authorized versions are currently out of print, working on a new edition). Check back next Monday for another one! You can also sign up for the Daily Message on my mailing list if you’d like to receive a new reflection every day. I also often post them to Instagram and Twitter, if either of those is a medium you enjoy.

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