We have the apparatus to be happy, says Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness.
His study found is that our frontal lobe helps us create a psychological immune system to fabricate happiness anytime we want. What are the applications of this study for us chasing happiness everyday of our lives?
Happiness is not linked to outcomes. “Happiness is not a thing to be found,” says Gilbert. It doesn’t matter if you get this particular job or find that particular relationship. Any other possible outcome can make us feel as happy as the one we really focused on in the first place.
The wisdom here is that changing goals or taking a different route from the one you envisioned would not make you less happy.
Or we could say that atttachment and ungrounded expectations could lead to unnecessary disappointments. Having a more relaxed view of things and of life in general, and having flexibility will surely lead to more happiness.
Having too much freedom to choose or change, says Gilbert is the enemy to happiness. This is definitely a shocking revelation, right? But it is exactly what this study found. Our psychological immune system works best when you have limited choices, for example when we are married. So if you are married and feel unhappy, maybe you could reconsider your happiness quotient, work on your marriage, add a few more grateful things to the situation, and change your view about the alternative options to more happiness.
The idea however of reducing your options frees you to make better choices with less stress and can, in fact, lead to greater fulfillment.
Another point the author makes is that having too much ungrounded passion and ambition in life can lead to disastrous results. I think that we can find plenty of examples in all walks of life to demonstrate this statement. But the main point here is that nothing in life is as important as keeping your integrity intact. Anytime you have to lie or cheat, or compromise your values, you are taking the risky road of becoming unhappy.
When we understand that happiness is not a goal or a thing but originating in our own physiological makeup, we can empower ourselves to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives.This is a very wise study supporting the idea that we create our own happiness.
Let’s have a discussion on how to stay open to love.
The kind of love I have in mind here is Agape love, unconditional love, the broader more expansive love towards ourselves, others and the planet. How can we cultivate that love all of the time?
Everybody has love inside of them. You don’t need to search for it, you need to trust that you have an abundant amount of love to give and receive. We are wired to love and we are wired to respond to love with kindness.
Nobody can survive without love. If you take a look at your exchanges, love is everywhere around you. All day long we are exchanging love, like we are exchanging money. One we see, the other we feel and sense. A hello is love, a smile is love, nice words are love, your presence is love, showing up is love.
Always cultivate an open heart. I was in meditation today and was observing my heart. I know from personal experience that when we experience a conflict, rejection or disappointment, we tend to close our hearts.
We close our hearts because we are sad but also because it hurts to feel the pain and disappointment of rejection. This is exactly why we need to reverse our course, and stay open. By keeping our hearts open, we are letting them heal, and allowing them to receive love from other sources — our pets, friends, parents, neighbors, and all of nature. Let the exchange of love keep flowing.
All our hearts are like giant flowers with petals. What happens to a flower when it is closed? We don’t see its essence, its colors, we can’t smell its fragrance. That is why we need to keep our hearts open and beautiful despite adversity. Our hearts are made to be appreciated. Everyone is worthy of love, everyone is worthy of receiving love. We are loving and lovable.
Cultivate the love you have. Let it grow. Love the small acts of love, they will grow your love.
As you expand your awareness, your love will expand. You will naturally make space for love to flourish inside of you. As you start to embrace your essence which the present moment reveals to you, love will replace what is not love inside of you….
So chirp your hearts out and pay attention to the love that flows all around you.
Most people would probably agree that our world needs empathy.
The dictionary defines empathy as the action and the capacity of understanding, being aware of, and being sensitive to the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another person.
If we can feel our own pain, can we naturally fee the pain of other human beings or animals? Are we really wired for empathy, or do we learn empathy?
Psychologists talk of three types of empathy. Cognitive empathy is when you can put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. We cognitively understand what people are going through. Understanding that somebody is hurting is limited, as it doesn’t produce the kind of acknowledgment the other person needs.
Emotional empathy is when you feel and sympathize with the feelings and emotions of others. We need this capacity to maintain relationships and friendships. Some people are better at this than others, for example therapists. Emotional empathy can be treacherous for sensitive people. Feeling somebody’s else emotions and pain without boundaries can cause you to become ill.
To have healthy empathy, we must practice Compassion. With compassion we understand and we feel for someone else, but also are capable of holding a safe place for them to have their own emotional experiences. Compassion is felt more in the heart. We are extending our heart to someone else’s heart, thus making the other person feel seen, heard, and acknowledged.
Transformation is a process. As we heal, we also learn and develop more empathy. Feeling the pain of others is an essential component of good health.
The famous author Caroline Myss says that “people are hungry for the sacred.”
Once, people in masses went to churches to reflect and to connect with a force stronger than themselves, one that brought them relief and peace and hope.
“Religion is part of the human make-up. It is our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing,” writes Christopher Hitchens.
Whatever the Gods represent for you, quantum intelligence or a divine intelligence, we need the humility the sacred brings into our lives to make sense of our illogical human existence. I heard one of the victims of the California fires say “only gratitude matters going forward.”
Collectively we need more inspiration, more beautification and purification of our characters, our personalities, our souls, and our energies.
We are a sacred temple, and everyone on earth is a sacred temple. Together we make one sacred tribe. We walk on sacred earth, and we desperately need to accept ourselves as sacred beings. No shift in collective consciousness will ever happen if we don’t welcome back this basic truth.
We need to respect the sacred each one of us has decided to pursue; it is the right one for you at this point of your human evolution.
The true sacred inside of us doesn’t wage wars, doesn’t wish bad things to people, doesn’t look down at other sacred beings.
When you are feeling stressed, bring to mind the image of a sacred space, feel the peacefulness and the tranquility of sacredness inside of you. Respect, devotion and faith are a part of who you are.
In my yoga class this morning, blessings were sent to my body, my friends, the people all over the world who are suffering and lacking peace. Send blessings to your own body, and your own friends, and all other places you wish to send some sacredness and healing
Listening to the news about natural disasters or phenomena happening everywhere around the globe, I couldn’t stop thinking about what is needed of us, when events of such magnitude threaten our material and physical security?
The earth is always evolving and changing, and the changes are opportunities for us to grow and learn as human beings.
The uncertainty of the events, and of life in general, teaches us that certainty can be found only inside of us. If we have a strong core and a strong sense of who we are, we will face these events with courage and calm.
The truth is that life is all about learning how to live with uncertainty. And becoming more comfortable with not knowing what tomorrow will bring.
That is why we need to develop courage. If we cultivate courage as a human quality and if we recognize the value of becoming courageous, we will fare much better in times of high stress and uncertainty.
If you don’t have courage, you will let your anxiety and fear topple your calm, when what you need the most is calm and self-control.
If you don’t have courage, you will not be able to examine the information given to you, and to make the right decision for yourself and your loved ones. You will let negative thinking, thoughts and feelings of gloom and doom, overtake you and make you lose your ground.
Without courage, you will hastily abandon your property, your pets, your life and embrace the fear of others.
Courage is the quality to stand on your own, to think on your own, to listen to your radar system, and to be plugged into a deeper awareness and intelligence. Courage allows you to say no to the herd mentality, and to always act with dignity and empathy.
In times of volatility and uncertainty, we need to learn to stay present, grounded, and to trust our senses.
And most of all, we need to trust life and to trust ourselves and that requires a lot of courage!
I am inviting you to start examining yourself, setting new intentions, and developing and living with more courage!
Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. – Archimedes