Everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering

“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”

Please sign the Guestbook

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Exercise ten: feeling more compassion

Posted on Happy Minds!

Exercise 10: feeling more compassion
This exercise is very similar to exercise 6, but a lot shorter and described a little different this time.

Remember a time you felt completely connected to someone. Do you agree that this was a very good, warm, healthy feeling? Maybe you feel this right now for someone. For a friend, a relative, your partner, your kids, or for your pet. This feeling is a great source of happiness! However, generally it seems that having this feeling is restricted to a certain few in your direct environment.
However, can you imagine what happens if you spend 10 minutes every day, cultivating this feeling and then sending it to all people around you, instead of to just a few?

You might say: cultivate it? How can you cultivate something like an emotion, it has to happen spontaneously! Well, if you are willing to do a little experiment, you might change your mind about that.
It’s a very simple experiment. Just sit with your eyes closed. If you feel lots of stress, try to do the breathing exercise described in exercise 3. Once you feel calm, neutral, and able to sit comfortably for a few minutes, just start thinking of the friends, relatives, children and/or animals you feel connected with. Try to imagine a bright, precise picture of them in your minds eye. See them smiling, see how they care for you. Pay close attention to what you feel. Maybe you’ll feel some warmth in your chest, maybe a tingling feeling in your stomach, or maybe you’ll just notice how you start to relax. Go on imagining this, until the feeling is quite strong.
When it’s strong enough for you, think of someone that doesn’t belong in your circle of beloved ones. Somebody that invokes a neutral feeling. Try to hold on to that feeling you had just an instant ago while imagining your beloved ones. If that’s hard, imagine that this person, that you do not have these feelings for, also has a circle of kith and kin. Try to see how this person is struggling, just like you, to keep his or her head above the water. Try to see how this person tries to be a friendly, warm human being to others. And if you can still not feel that same warmth for this person now, try to see this person going through lots of pain, loneliness and depression. Try to see how this person needs other people.
For most people, this exercise produces a small, but noticeable result the first time they do it. If you would do it every day for two weeks, you would notice that it gets a lot easier and very enjoyable! If you would do it for a couple of months, you might start to notice that your relating to people around you tends to get warmer and healthier. Of course, to some extent it depends on your determination to let this feeling penetrate your daily consciousness. But this can be trained! Studies on people who have done many hours of this training, show that it can make you very happy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Compassion for Yourself and Others

Posted on Happy Minds!

Author: Pema Chödrön

In order to have compassion for others, we have to have compassion for ourselves.

In particular, to care about other people who are fearful, angry, jealous, overpowered by addictions of all kinds, arrogant, proud, miserly, selfish, mean —you name it— to have compassion and to care for these people, means not to run from the pain of finding these things in ourselves. In fact, one's whole attitude toward pain can change. Instead of fending it off and hiding from it, one could open one's heart and allow oneself to feel that pain, feel it as something that will soften and purify us and make us far more loving and kind.

Read more

Sunday, December 21, 2008

How to deal with depression

Posted on Happy Minds!

Lets say your about to sink into a deep, smothering, morbid depression. You recognise the symptoms: you’re going down. You feel like a fish in a net: the more you flounder, the more you get trapped. There’s just nothing you can do. You’ve tried every remedy you know, or maybe your already to far down to try anything. Maybe you’ve looked at some positive images, you viewed some nice films on how beautiful our earth is. You tried to enjoy yourself with some kith and kin. You’ve done all meditation practices you’re familiar with. It might be you’ve taken some painkillers, a little herb, alcohol or other substances that help to ease the pain. Nothing helps.

Let me start this posting by conveying my sympathy to you. I may not know you, I may not be aware of any of your troubles, and my life may seem extremely comfortable compared to yours. I can only tell you from my heart: I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. It just hurts beyond imagination. It hurts to loose people and things. It hurts to do bad things to others, or to be a victim. It hurts to feel guilty and inadequate. It hurts to see yourself wasting all your precious time on gloom. It hurts not to be able to join the party. It hurts not to be able to love your kin. It just hurts.

OK. Now it would be very nice if I could offer you something that would instantaneously solve your ordeal. Probably I cann't. But let me give it a try. There’s some simple exercises on this blog that may interest you, and may help a little. Also, I want to give you some advise that seems to help me (sometimes ;-)).

First of all, realise that you are not the only one feeling like this. It helps to do a simple visualisation exercise: just try to see as many people as you can in your minds eye, the surroundings is not that important. Know that all these people are going through times similar to what you are experiencing now. Know that some even suffer more than you do right now. Try to feel some compassion, a little commiseration. Know that they too are really desperate. Know that they too are not able to get a grip.

Second, realise that everything on earth is impermanent. 80 million years ago, the Himalayan mountains did not exist. However, nowadays the highest mountain on earth is found right there. In another 80 million years, the Himalaya mountains probably do not exist any longer, there may be desert instead, or no planet at all! If even mountains rise and perish, have some faith that the same principle of appearing and disappearing applies to your problems. Think of all the problems all living creatures on this planet ever had. And think of what is left of those problems now. Your situation is real. Your problem is you’re believing it will stay this way.

Third, if you can bring yourself to it: do something positive, anything. Go to a park, bless all the pigeons, whish them a long, healthy, happy life. Give a little money to somebody who really needs it. Do a chore for an old grumpy neighbour that everybody dislikes. It will not solve your problem, but it helps to battle the thoughts concerning worthlessness. It helps, because every time you start thinking: I am worthless, you can proof yourself that this is just not true, because at least you’ve been kind to the pigeons, a beggar or a neighbour in need.

Last but not least: as soon as you’re able to, stop spending your time on going in your home devised circus attraction. By that I mean: try to stop repeating the same black, heavy and good-for-nothing thought-patterns! Distract yourself! You can work on a solution later, first get yourself out of this shit! If you have no money: start walking and concentrate on the interaction with your environment. Try to see people in need, help them with small things. Watch the movie "Forrest Gump" if you can, he walked for years just because he felt like it! If responsibilities tie you to your home: fine, let it be little children, take them to a park. Bottom line is: not doing anything and making up excuses why nothing can be done is PART of your depression. Try to recognise that, and get out of your comfort zone as soon as possible!

Submit your website to 20 Search Engines - FREE with ineedhits!