Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Happiness in Practise

Surrey university meditation
Just found something I wrote a few years ago as publicity for a
meditation class I was running at the time. It's all still applicable of
course:
What were your New Year's Resolutions? No doubt their goal was to improve your life in some way, to make you happier. We all want to be happy, not just occasionally, but fundamentally. Trouble is, that's where it normally stops, remaining a hope, a wish, a desire.
So how do you become happy? Everyone knows the answer already; it's common sense. Any self help book boils down to this paradigm. It is not only the strategy to make you happier, but to improve your sporting prowess, to improve your exam results, even the way to drink more beers without falling over. So what is it? One word: Practise.
But how do you practise to be happy? Well start now - just try to be happy! As a beginner though, you will need to start slowly. Try setting aside five minutes each day to practise being happy. Within those five minutes, think positive thoughts, laugh, smile and appreciate all your good qualities. Watching TV doesn't count mind, you need to concentrate without distractions and without a fear of being judged. It's free, safe, requires no special equipment, and you can practise anywhere. Sounds easy huh? Unfortunately most people are simply not dedicated enough to do it. Maybe once, twice, maybe a whole week, but then it lapses. The result is also subtle, indirect and cumulative; there is no high and no adrenalin. The effects creep up on you. It might take six months, before someone comments on how happy you seem. That moment though will be magical. "I am happier" you will think, "It really does work!"
Anyone can teach themselves, but everyone learns faster with a teacher, and perseverance is easier in a group. Classes and teachers of happiness are everywhere, but traditionally go by a different name. So if you want to be happy, put aside the fear of the unknown, and join a Meditation class.

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