“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” – Gandhi
Every person has the basic need to be happy. It is in the seed of all our desires and dreams. We desire to have a passionate relationship, a career change, a bigger house, a luxury car, all because we think this may lead us closer to happiness. We have been conditioned since we were small children to seek happiness outside of ourselves. Unfortunately, all of these external influences have the ability to bring us pain as well. When we identify ourselves with the ever-changing roles we play and the possessions we have in our lives, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Regular meditation can free us from this conditioned pattern of searching outside ourselves for happiness and discover deeper fulfillment within that is not contingent of others.
A regular meditation practice peels at the layers of conditioning and uncovers your true authentic Self. This is the part of you that is pure, innocent and light, where you are neither above nor below anyone. Your ego, or self-image, is the part of you that identifies itself with your job, relationship status, gender, sexual preference, political party, age, wealth, etc. A regular meditation practice takes you beyond your ego to access your true Self. Over time, you will notice that you are operating from a more authentic place. What you think and what you do are no longer disconnected but are in alignment. From this level of awareness, you see that everyone at the core of their being is pure, innocent and light.
Meditation is a powerful tool in discovering happiness that is independent of people, circumstances and material things. Try this simple meditation technique twice a day. Start by taking a few minutes every morning and evening to rediscover your inner world.
Begin by finding a comfortable place to sit, either on a chair, sofa, floor or yoga mat where you will be uninterrupted. Close your eyes and rest your hands on your lap or place one hand in the other. You do not need to be in a yoga pose. Soften the muscles in your face, jaw, neck and continue to bring your awareness to your entire body.
Release any tension lingering in the body by bringing your awareness to that area and exhaling. Continue with your eyes closed and notice your breath without trying to control it. Let it fluctuate, just like your thoughts.
Start to silently count “1” as you inhale, and “2” as you exhale. Continue back to “1” on the inhale and “2” on the exhale. At some point, you will notice that your mind has drifted away from the repetition to other thoughts, sounds in the environment, or a physical sensation in the body.
Gently let go of the thought and come back to the repetition of “1,2”. The repetition of “1,2” is easy and effortless. There’s no need to force or concentrate on it. When you notice your mind wandering off, smile and without any judgments, bring it back to the mantra. When you are ready to come out of your meditation, simply let go of the repetition of “1,2” and take a few moments to bring your awareness back to your body before opening your eyes.
Avoid checking your e-mails or doing anything stimulating right after your meditation. Take time to just be and reap the benefits of tapping into the stillness and silence.
About: Danielle Mika Nagel, is the studio director of studio development at Chopra Yoga Center located in Vancouver, BC. and soon Toronto, ON. She is a certified yoga and meditation teacher with more than a decade of teaching experience. She is also a proud mom of two. For more information join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.