What is a ‘Happy’ New Year?
As I began to write to you this week and wish you all a very Happy New Year, a question I have heard asked over and over again popped-up… “What is happiness, and how can we achieve it?” Well, after 2000 years of practise, Buddhist monks know that one secret to happiness is simply to put your mind to it. Matthieu Ricard, declared by University of Wisconsin neuroscientists as the happiest man they have ever tested, says that happiness can’t be reduced to a few agreeable sensations. Rather, it is a way of being and of experiencing the world – a profound fulfillment that suffuses every moment and endures despite inevitable setbacks.
In other words, outer conditions do not make us happy; our perception of and response to these conditions determine our degree of authentic happiness. This is why we can be deeply unhappy even though we “have it all” – wealth, power, health, a good family, etc. – and, conversely, we can remain determined and serene in the face of hardship. Authentic happiness is a way of being and a skill to be cultivated. Let’s take Key Steps to…
Create a Happy New Year
- Practise being happy. All you need to do is sit quietly from time to time (morning and evenings are often best), turn your mind within, and let your thoughts calm down. Focus your attention on an object; this can be a physical object in the room, your breath or your own mind. When you first begin, the mind can be untamed, like that of a monkey or a restless child. When it wanders, gently bring it back to the object of concentration, like a butterfly that returns again and again to a flower. It takes practise to gain inner peace, altruistic love, endurance, patience and other qualities that lead to happiness. Over months and years, you’ll become less impatient, less prone to anger and experience less conflict. You’ll train your mind so that you can rest in pure awareness of the present moment and ensure that you are not enslaved by or overly identified with your emotions.
- Savour your magical moments. When you experience moments of grace – while having lunch with dear friends, walking on freshly cut grass, reading a great book or listening to the sound of a child’s laughter – you are fully present in the moment and have freed your mind (even if for a fleeting moment) of inner conflict. Being at peace with yourself, in harmony with others and the world around you has a profound effect on your state of being.These moments don’t have to be fleeting, you can extend them to create a life lived in a state of grace… this is authentic happiness. What are your TOP 3 Magical Moments? Grab your journal and write them down. Next week, I’ll share one of mine with you and I look forward to hearing more about yours and how we can use them to create authentic happiness.
By now you have probably realised that some support would go a long way to making 2017 the happiest of years yet. So remember to book yourself or your team (a 25% discount applies to bookings of 4 or more people) on our Set and Achieve Your Goals Workshop on 26 January 2017 to make 2017 a successful, thriving, productive year. Do this and you can…
“be the difference that makes the difference“