Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happiness Levels

i've been reading the dalai lama's "the art of happiness" and working on creating a higher baseline level of happiness. while i do consider myself to be pretty happy, i get frustrated and upset pretty easily, so i think that it's worth my time to work on upping my baseline levels.

i'm obsessed with the book, its ideas, and am constantly spouting it now, even though i'm only a few chapters in. i find so much resonance in it. the dalai lama talks about letting go of feelings of frustration, guilt, shame, jealousy, etc., because they only further negativity in yourself and then are fed back to the world. by focusing on creating your own happiness (which he claims is totally possible), you can respond to others with compassion.

i've been exploring some of these issues through my yoga, as that was the first way that i found to personally create happiness. yoga is the only way i've ever found to calm my crazy mind or to be completely happy with my body. through the daily practice of yoga/breathing, i have found this intense connection to myself/my body, and i'm more able to connect to things around me. and i am more able to focus on things and people in my life, like billy, and be fully present when i'm with him.

my yoga practice has been blossoming, but i still struggle with how to incorporate yoga throughout the rest of my life. for example, when i take the train each day, i feel pangs of anger as people shove past me, or elbow me in their haste. i think things like "what's wrong with you?! look where you're going!" but as i've been reading "the art of happiness" i've been able to shift my responses. as i got off the train this morning, and was shoved away from the door, i thought "we're all trying to get where we're going. we're all in a hurry." i noticed the change in my response, from anger to compassion. i felt compassion for everyone's hurry, and i felt connected to all of the other people on the train.

i get stressed every day, and i can't change the world. but i can change my outlook ... and i think that can actually be done pretty quickly. the dalai lama is right: we all want to be happy: treating others with compassion allows that happiness.

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