What's keeping us from happiness?

Q:

What's keeping us from happiness?

A:

It’s our true nature to be deeply content. At the heart of our being, we are loving, happy, compassionate and deeply wise beings. But it doesn’t always feel that way, does it? Many of us feel quite the opposite. Many of us are truly unhappy in many moments of every single day.

(You may also be wondering How can I experience contentment?)

This happiness block lies in our entire body-mind. When the mind is in a state of conflict, it negatively affects our bodies. Our minds are unhappy when they ruminate on past events – memories that might be traumatic or memories of the good ol’ days – as if the present moment weren’t perfect just the way it is. The mind is sometimes unhappy when it’s caught up in future fantasies. It’s the same thing here – the mind wants to be somewhere other than where it is in the moment. Not being fully present, for whatever reason, is often cause for unhappiness.

Another unhappiness factor lies in the nature of our humanity to label things as good or bad, rather than loving and accepting exactly what’s happening. We feel unhappy because we want people or situations to be different somehow. Perhaps we cling to pleasure or run away from pain, rather than getting curious about whatever it is we’re thinking, feeling or experiencing in the present moment.

(You may also be interested in the answer to Can yoga change my outlook on life?)

Some of our minds are more conflicted than others. So, for those of us who can’t seem to quiet our minds, or for those of us who feel as if we’re being taken for a ride by the ups and downs of the roller coaster that is our mind, we need to gain some stillness, and we can do that through the profound art of meditation. By practicing a loving-kindness meditation, we can cultivate our happiness and compassion muscle, and with time, happiness will cease to elude us.

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Written by Aimee Hughes
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Aimee is a yogi and writer who's been practicing yoga daily for nearly two decades. Since a journey to India when she was 20, the practice has been her constant companion. She loves exploring the vast and seemingly endless worlds of yoga. Aimee has also written a book called, "The Sexy Vegan Kitchen: Culinary Adventures in Love & Sex," available on Amazon. Full Bio