What is your “default” state of being? Do you naturally revert to a smile, or a frown? Tom Cronin believes there are three behaviours standing in the way of your happiness, and one tool you can rely on to banish them for good.
During a recent talk to a group of high school students, a 16-year-old raised her hand. “Why do we have to search for happiness?” she asked. Sensing the crowd of students were confused, she continued: “Why can’t it be something we feel all the time?”
She explained she had been taught that happiness is not “normal.” She had been told it was something to strive for; something you have to earn. She pleaded with me: “But why can’t happiness be normal?” I could see she believed, deep down that something was eluding her.
Have you ever pondered the same question? Have you ever started your day with the intention to remain positive and upbeat, only to find yourself more bothered and frustrated as the day wears on?
I assured her—and I assure you—that happiness can be your “normal.” I believe happiness, health, vitality and creativity is the basis of human existence and the natural essence of each individual. Here are the three things standing in your way.
Three happiness suckers
1. Imbalance. Not the opposite of “balance,” but a state of misalignment; when we are not living our values. Are you spending too much time at work, and not enough time at home with your family? Is your friendship circle full of people who lift you up, or pull you down? Do you serve others, or are you perpetually serving yourself? Do you make time during your week for your spiritual being and development? Is there too much movement in your life, and not enough rest? Write a list of tasks and actions that you give you joy and those that don’t and try to understand where your balance lies. We cannot shirk our responsibilities, but our hearts are calling us away from the imbalance in our lives. It’s time to listen.
2. Indoctrination. Are you living life the way you want, or the way you believe you should? Are you the person that others believe you to be, or the person you believe you should be? From a young age we are conditioned to act and think in a certain way. Take some time to check in on your thoughts and your beliefs—are they yours, or somebody else’s?
3. Negative thoughts. What conversation did you have in your head on the way to work this morning? As we grow older, we accumulate expectations, fears, and self-doubt. Our brain software recycles these negative thoughts about us and our life on a daily basis. Is it time to re-boot?
Stillness: The ultimate happiness shield
There is a way for us to restore ourselves back to a simple, happy state. And it’s not by doing more, acquiring more or meeting more people. It lies in the stillness of being. In Sanskrit, this is known as nivartartvum: Discover the bliss of your inner being, then perform action from that space.
Meditation, and going inwards, is the gateway to your inner happiness.
We spend most of our lives looking for it “out there” however when we are able to withdraw from the senses and dive within, headfirst into the silence, we can connect to our inner bliss.
Then you will discover that indeed, happiness is your default state too.
Get started on a simple meditation with Tom Cronin
Sit comfortably. It can be a chair or lying down. Close your eyes. Begin by observing your breath moving in and out of your nostrils. Keep the attention on this single point. As the mind wanders then bring it back to that single point. When your time is up, slowly open your eyes.
You can try this meditation any time of the day. See how you go.
Get more meditation tips from Tom in this video.