The Art Of Happiness

5 Tips To Ignite The Light Within And Cultivate Happiness

Happiness – we all seek it, we all crave it and sometimes, we even find it.

Sylvia Lane

A Story about perception…Once, there was a person who relocated to a new town. Wondering if he’d like his new town, he went to consult the Zen master:

 “Do you think I will like this new town? Are the people nice?”

The Zen master asked: “How were the people in the town where you come from?”

“They were nasty, angry, and greedy. They cheat and steal for a living,” said the newcomer.

“Those are exactly the type of people we have in this village.” said the Zen master.

Another newcomer to the village visited the master and asked the same question. Again, the Zen master asked: “How were the people in the town where you come from?”

“Respectful and caring, they are wonderful people who live in harmony with each other,” He replied.

“Those are exactly the type of people we have in this village.” said the Zen master.

And the moral of the story – you are what you perceive

Happiness is a topic that has been around for a very long time. After all, in order to experience the best possible life we need to be able to make the most of the good times – but also to cope effectively with the inevitable bad times.

Happiness relates to how we feel, but it is more than just a passing mood. We are emotional beings and we experience a wide range of feelings on a daily basis. 

Negative emotions, such as fear and anger, help us to get away from danger or defend ourselves. 

Positive emotions, such as enjoyment and hope, help us to connect with others and build our capacity to cope when things go wrong.

Trying to live a happy life is not about denying negative emotions or pretending to feel joyful all the time. We all encounter adversity and it’s completely natural for us to feel anger, sadness, frustration and other negative emotions as a result. To suggest otherwise would be to deny part of who we are as a human being.

The Science Of Being Happy

“Happiness is a deep sense of flourishing, not a mere pleasurable feeling or fleeting emotion but an optimal state of being.” – Matthieu Ricard (biochemist turned Buddhist monk)

Although we may sometimes neglect to cultivate our own happiness, feeling happy is intrinsically important. 

If we are happy it has added knock on effects and benefits. From becoming more compassionate and feeling healthier both physically and emotionally through to increased levels of creativity, energy and vitality, happiness is important to how we function as a human being.

But it doesn’t just help us function better: happiness also brings impressive benefits for society as a whole. 

A review of more than 160 studies found “clear and compelling evidence” that happier people have better overall health and live longer than their friends and family who were less happy.

Happy people are around half as likely to catch the cold virus due to increased immune system responses and have a 50% lower risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke.

There is even evidence that happiness is contagious, so that happier people help others around them to become happier too. An extensive study in the British Medical Journal followed people over 20 years and found that their happiness affected others in their networks across “three degrees of separation” – in other words, how happy we are has a measurable impact on the mood of our friend’s friend’s friend.

How To Cultivate Happiness

Scientific research provides compelling data to support the anecdotal evidence that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. Through fMRI technology, we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. Experiments show evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain—and it’s pleasurable. Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful.

There is a Japanese saying that my Reiki teacher always used to share in every Reiki training: 

“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. 

If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. 

If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” 

Values and Ideals to cultivate in your every day life for happiness

Tip #1 – For Today only – it is the only time that exists 

Time as we know it, has been created by people to try and explain and keep events in linear time, which does not truly exist in the universe.  The only time that really exists is the “now”, the present time we are currently in. Focus on the “Now” and each event in your life will become so much more meaningful.

Tip #2 – Do not anger: embrace peace

Anger only exists in the body for 30 seconds.  Any anger you feel after this, is a choice you have made to keep feeling anger.  Anger held within the body creates imbalance, disturbances of energy flow, and ultimately sickness.  Learn to “let go, and let God”.  The universe loves to provide to us, but it is up to each individual to ask for what we want.  If you focus on anger, more anger will come to you, and more anger provoking situations will be brought into your life.  Make the promise to let go of all anger for today only, live is bliss and happiness, and more of this will come your way. Remember we all have free will to choose our thoughts, our emotions and our actions at any given point in time.

*Tip: When anger comes, simply let it go by imagining that you can send it upwards to the Divine/God/ the Universe. The Divine is not harmed by this anger, as the Divine draws positive energy when we heal. This positive energy is much stronger than any negative energy of anger.

Tip #3 – Don’t worry – be happy

Worrying is a habit we hold, which relates to something in the future. We usually worry about an event that may (or may not) happen in the coming days. Thus, worry is mere by-product of the illusion of time.

To let go of worries – just be aware of them –  do not be afraid of them or continue to focus on them, but simply let them rise, let them come up, and then allow them to pass by. Worries have no powers to attach themselves to you. It is you who attach them to yourself, as you have the power…if you just look at yourself at the present moment, The Now, you will find that you are perfectly ok right now, at this perfect moment. There is no need to worry.

*to do: think of it this way – what is the worst that can happen anyway?

Tip #4 – Be humble

Humbleness is a quality to always strive for.  Ego often tries to take charge and can lead to judgements, and can lead to you  “trying to take over”.  As you are not aware of a person’s life lessons, karmic debt and personal mission, you are not in position to make such decisions.  By being humble you respect the power of the universe and allow it to operate through you.

Tip #5 – Be honest – be true to you

Doing our work “honestly” is not just about how we earn a living, but about how we are “living”-  Do you go to bed at night happy with all decisions and thoughts you made today?

Are you honest with yourself and others?

Everything is so interconnected.  As much as we like to think of ourselves as individuals, we are still a part of the whole.  Think of a diamond.  You may be one face on the diamond, but you make up a special part of the whole.  Others prefer to think of a leaf, individual and beautiful, but part of the whole tree.  If you hurt the leaf, you hurt the tree.  If you hurt another, you also hurt yourself.

To do: treat others as you would like to be treated.