Our problem though is too many of us are unhappy. We are angry, frustrated, tired anxious and mostly distracted. It would seem many are angry at life, but I like to look at this the other way round — many are angry because they feel they are not alive. They are not living the life that deep down inside they feel they should and can be experiencing.
This a huge problem; it holds us all back. But it's also our biggest opportunity.
Many ancient teachings talk about a feeling of lack, of something missing. It's that feeling that pushes us forward and if possible, pushes us inward too. We look for a way to fill that sense of void. It's a cliché but it's no less true that happiness has hardly anything to do with the outside world. Happiness is an inside job.
You are born happy
Studies reveal what we all intuitively know. Our capacity to be 100 percent happy is made up of three mindsets.
If we add our natural genetic disposition for happiness to our mindset, we are pretty much responsible for our happiness. This comes as a surprise to many, as the whole of our contemporary economic structure is purely focused on the 10 percent. What a waste of time and resources.
‘Happiness’ though is a tricky word. It’s often best to talk about being well. Like happiness studies, there is also a huge amount of work trying to define and describe. For us, it's the simple and conscious joining together of two intersecting dimensions:
Being and Doing — aspects of human experience that is fully understood through modern meditation. When we are fully alive to our being, we notice it changes how we do. And when we are fully alive to our doing, it reveals being. This is the primary benefit from allowing happiness to grow in your life. It will change everything.
Being — A sense of being fully engaged and connected where you, who you are and what you are doing. This state ‘absorption’ (called samapatti in yoga) is often referred to as ‘flow’ or optimum experience or performance. It's linked to personal development, autonomy, fulfilling potential and knowing a sense of purpose and meaning.
Doing - When linked to being, work becomes creative, purposeful and playful. You seem to know what to do and your whole view of life is purposeful and enriching.
So in other words, we can't decide to become happy, we can only be happy. That happiness is deeply connected to how we think; it is the absence of fear, anger, want and all those other human emotions that keep us entangled and stressed. Darkness is the absence of light in the same way, while pain is the absence of wellness.
Happiness is your default position. It's your operating system and it's designed to keep you in the world — hopefully heading in the right direction.
Our top 10 meditation-based mindset actions for activating your inbuilt happiness
1. Don’t get distracted. As we have seen above, happiness is an inside job. That means no one, or nothing, can really make you happy, even though it may not seem that way. Avoid putting that pressure onto yourself and others. We often say that meditation practice results in you smiling at strangers. Try that — happiness will follow.
2. When you meditate, you will notice your intuition (inner teacher) will unfold and develop. Trust it. Follow your intuition and let it guide you towards other people, places and events that will expand your life in ways you never thought possible. This is about following your bliss. Be brave and your innate happiness will grow.
3. Don’t live inside your head, live your life instead on Earth and in the moment. Thoughts and feelings are not you. Meditation practice helps you to see that, allowing you to find the perspective you need. Then you will realise you are already right where you should be, doing what you should be doing. It's liberating.
4. After a while, your personal sense of resilience and individuality will grow. You will begin to know who those people are that bring you down and compress you.
5. With regular meditation, you will begin to see the bigger picture and where you fit into it. Don't let the noise and confusion of daily life distract you from your overall sense of purpose. After a while, you will begin to see things differently, with more clarity and a deeper, wider perspective.
6. Life is a process, not a destination or a set of objectives. It’s happening right now. Don't wait and think "once I achieve XYZ, I’ll be happy" — happiness is available right now, 24-7.
7. Stay with what you feel. Don't let anybody tell you what to think. We often like to say at beanddo, stay 'field independent' meaning watch, witness and stay non-attached. This will help you know and live through your own insight.
8. You don't need to feel happy all of the time. That would weird and annoying. But you can be well. Happiness can be hard to feel at times, so don’t think there is something wrong with you if you don’t feel it.
9. We all go through phases, and some people are just naturally happier than others, so try to avoid comparing yourself with others. The truth is that happiness is here for you, and using the techniques above will allow you to feel more of it.
10. Oh… and finally, learn modern meditation. All of the above will naturally grow in your life. You are happy. You might not feel like it at this moment, but you most definitely are.