Every minute of every day consists of sixty iron doors and sixty golden palaces — that’s what the 18th Century Poet, Painter and Print-maker William Blake thought, and I tend to agree!
But sure as eggs are eggs, reality will intervene and it may bite!
Become 10% Happier…
However, tell me that you want to grab it all by the short and curly’s and start to feel 10% Happier? Tell me that you want to feel raised up and inspired?
And tell me that you want to start right here? Right now?
Damn right you do. So, start being Mindful!
Accept that Evolution is cleverer then you are…
The Biochemist, Leslie Orgel, tells us that “evolution is cleverer than we are”, and the advances in Neuroscience and Psychology over over the past thirty years have rather turned things on their head, so to speak, with regards to what we now understand about the Brain, how it works and it’s relationship with emotions such as Happiness.
Meanwhile Compassion, Caring and Pro-social behaviour have all been elevated to centre stage in the development of Wellbeing, promoting good mental health and our capacity to foster harmonious relationships with each other & the world in which we live.
Be Compassionate to yourself, starting now…
And compassion for oneself — Yes, self-compassion — is now widely recognised as an important predictor of Psychological Health and Wellbeing.
Our Brains are basically wired to experience empathy and compassion, and do you know what, the practice of Mindfulness activates and strengthen the very areas of the Brain associated with these feelings.
However, left to our own devices, we pay Attention to what we think makes us happy, rather than what actually does. Happiness isn’t some grand overall life goal and policy makers, teachers, philosophers and You too my reader, please take note.
True happiness is actually to be found in the subjective everyday experience…
In fact, day-to-day happiness should be at the heart of every policy decision and the practice of Mindfulness let’s us be more aware of and pay sufficient Attention to those things that really matter, moment-by-moment.
Don’t just think positive to be positive either…
Set yourself some challenges…
When the poet John Keats was starting off in the junior ranks of wanna be poets, he set himself the task of writing an epic poem of some 4000 lines in length, &, gave himself just a couple of weeks to compete the task. The poem was to be based on all he had read about the poets of antiquity and the real challenge he set himself was to learn and become the best poet he could possibly be.
The resulting poem became known as Endymion and John Keats Esq knocked it out of the park!
A happy life consists of the mastery of hardships…
This type of challenge is part of what Robert Greene in his book, ‘Mastery’ calls resistance practice, which he defines as “tackling the hardest option”.
And as Helen Keller (born without sight, hearing or the power of speech) recounted in her latter years, “A happy life consists not in the absence, but the mastery of hardships” and if she felt minded to feel that was the case then I think we should all take note!
Things in our life don’t always need to be in full focus to make us happy, we just need to be aware, compassionate to ourselves and pay Attention in the present moment.
So take an Artists’ perspective…
As you walk into the room in Madrid’s Prado museum where Velazquez’s epic painting, ‘The Maidservant’ hangs, just pause for a moment. It dominates the wall and the space it occupies, and from a distance it looks just as if you’ve walked right into the Spanish royal court circa 1656.
However, take a few steps closer and this amazing verisimilitude begins to breakdown. The lustrous hair of the Princess dissolves into a mirage of brush strokes. The face of the female dwarf becomes inchoate.
In fact the nearer you get to the painting the more the semblance of reality dissolves, like paint in the rain.
John Lennon wrote and sung the words in Strawberry Fields, “Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about” and we assume we know and understand the world that surrounds us. But that is just an illusion.
Be Aware and Be Prepared…
We only process a smidgen of a smidgen of a smidgen of the multitude of stimuli that surrounds us at any one time and this all adds up to a rather limited picture of the world. But one that we mistake for reality!
It’s an honest mistake, we don’t know any better, but coupled with the fact that we never give anything our full Attention anyway, then you’ll see that we actually don’t see, really, do we?
And Be Present and Be Happy…
And add to this that the past has already happened and is what it is. Whilst the future is just a concept. Then our actual reality is contained only in the lived experience of Moments — present moments. In fact, that is where Happiness is found & Mindfulness can provide all of us with a window onto each of these moments, together with a lens of clarity to view them as they actually are.
“Happiness doesn’t lay in happiness, but in the achievement of it”, wrote the great Russian novelist Fydor Dostoevsky.
Happiness as I’ve said is actually to be found in our subjective everyday experience. It’s not something mythic, or unattainable. It is found in the mundane. In the small things. The routine and everyday things.
And each moment is all that you need to be happy. So be Mindful and Be, Here, Now!
Because Gratitude precedes Happiness…
Also try to be Grateful too, because gratitude precedes Happiness, and you can read more about this in my book ‘Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search Of A Life More Meaningful’.
And in my spare time I work through the The Mudd Partnership with business leaders, organisations and individuals in support of change, leadership excellence and introducing Mindfulness.
Originally published at medium.com