Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting with my 10 year old daughter on a bench outside of a frozen yogurt place. It was a super gorgeous sunny afternoon. My daughter was eating her favorite frozen yogurt and in front of us we saw a smiling little boy zip by in a wheel chair pushing his wheels with his hands. Several kids ran around him. He looked adorable, glowing and so happy, as did the kids running beside him. I said, “Wow! That little boy in the wheel chair looks so happy doesn't he?”
My daughter said immediately, “You can be happy no matter what is going on in your life. It’s just an attitude.”
I was amazed that she said that.
I was so glad she did. She knows that I have my smartphone alarms going off throughout the day to remind me to do a breathing pattern to get into Alpha brain state, become completely present in my body, and get into whole brain state. She knows that I do this to focus in the present moment and train myself to be in that state.
Of course, she is right. You can be happy no matter what is going on. People who are happy are those that have learned to be happy in the present moment, rather than waiting for something to happen that will make them happy. A person can be on their deathbed and in pain, yet with focusing on the present moment for a nanosecond can find happiness. For that one nanosecond nothing is needed, you don't need food, water, money, even breath and you are completely whole and complete. Then you can focus in the present moment, on being pure presence, for another nanosecond and another….
True happiness stems from within, no physical situation can bring it. The creator of the term, “flow”, Mihaly Csiksentmilhalyi, who spent decades researching what makes people happy found this out. He said that a person can be very wealthy, have what they think is the perfect job, have a wonderful marriage and great relationships, yet still feel unfulfilled and not happy. He said that people who experience the most “flow” are the happiest. When a person is in flow, they are focused in the present moment and there is no feeling of self because there is no longer the “voice in the head” or the ongoing stream of thoughts. The self-critic shuts off because the ego shuts off when a person is in the present moment. It is a blissful place.
I love a story I heard from T. Harv Eker, who wrote The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. He said for several days he was swimming in the pool at his parents retirement community in Florida, and he realized that even though many people in the pool had saved money their whole lives to finally stop working and live in a warm place, he heard that the majority of the people in the pool were constantly complaining and voicing their unhappiness about something every day. One unhappiness fed into another. Eker said he realized that many of these people who were constantly complaining about something had said to themselves most of their lives that they would be happy once they retired, but then they had just continued their habit of focusing on the negative because this was so ingrained. He realized that happiness is a mindset and that it was essential to focus on practicing happiness now.
The mind or ego is wired to self-protect so it is naturally constantly warning of possible danger ahead. The adult mind’s natural state is in negativity. Meditation is so helpful not only because it helps access the stillness and peace within. It also helps with becoming aware of what is going on in the mind and thereby creating some distance from it. Suddenly it is possible to respond to circumstances that happen during the day with choice instead of reacting without any awareness or much control of the reaction.
I wrote already of a very small book Emmet Fox wrote many decades ago called The Seven Day Mental Diet. The audio is on Youtube and it is about 9 minutes long. He says the most important thing a person can do in their life is to train their mind to stop thinking negative thoughts. Of course, negative thoughts will come up, however, he says the key is to realize that a negative thought has come up and be able to redirect the mind before a minute goes by. He gives a challenge to go 7 days without thinking a negative thought for more than a minute. A friend sent me this and I did it. It actually took me months and months.
Then I learned about brain wave states. I learned that most people are in Beta brain wave state, a fast brain wave frequency, all day long. If a person is stressed, the brain is then in high Beta state. When a person is in Beta state, it is hard to stop thinking negative thoughts. When a person is relaxed, though, the brain waves shift into Alpha state and in Alpha state, it is hard to worry and think negative thoughts. In Alpha, a person is relaxed yet alert, has clarity of mind and impulse control and is connected with intuition.
This is a total game changer! It is easy to get into Alpha state by doing a deep breathing pattern for a few minutes, even two minutes will do. And then all of a sudden you are not only relaxed and feel good, then it is easy to leave negativity behind. And once you focus on awareness of each part of the body, just go through each part of the body an feel awareness of it, then with intention it is easy to let all thoughts go and just focus on being in the present moment, feeling your body and counting your breaths. Getting into the whole brain state is also easy. At this point, the five most potent feel good chemicals known to man are released into the body and you feel blissful.
On another level, as scientific research in Quantum Physics has found for years, we create our reality. So this is another reason why it is so important to get out of negativity. Not only because it feels crappy, but because negativity brings on more of the same — kind of like Charlie Brown and Eyore. They are constantly negative and therefore become stuck there, bringing more and more of the same into their lives. As Einstein said, you can’t come up with a solution to a problem from within the same consciousness it was created. It is possible to switch consciousness by getting into Alpha brain state, and even better, by then becoming present in the body and focusing in the present moment. Relaxing into the Now. Then not only are you practicing happiness, you are connected with intuition, inner guidance, and you are also at your peak performance with its slew of benefits.