Relaxing and calming the body as we breathe in and out, we can already experience joy and happiness. This is the joy of being alive, of being able to nourish the body at the same time as the soul. To sit knowing that we don’t have to do anything but breathe in and out in awareness is a great happiness. Countless people bounce about like yo-yos in their busy lives and never have the chance to taste this joy. Don’t worry if you don’t have hours to dedicate to sitting. A few moments of sitting and conscious breathing can bring great happiness. — Thich Nhat Hanh (from How to Live #BK558)
Shawn Achor is a “Happiness Researcher” and has spent years studying people’s brains and how we can become happier. His work has taken him from Harvard University, to Oprah, to the Dalai Lama Center for Peace. In his Ted Talk, he outlines simple actions to create lasting positive change including meditation, journaling, and performing random acts of kindness.
A long-time favorite at DharmaCrafts, and New York Time‘s Bestseller – Sharon Salzberg‘s Real Happiness is a 28-day introductory program that has the power to transform your life. From the basics of meditation including posture, breathing, and the daily schedule, to the finer points of calming the mind, distraction, and dealing with problem areas such as physical pain to the larger issues of compassion and awareness, Real Happiness is a complete guide. It explains how meditation works and why a daily meditation practice results in more resiliency, peace, clarity, and balance.
Mindfulness experts and Buddhist teachers from all types of practices agree on the benefits of keeping a journal. In Real Happiness, Sharon writes:
“Each time you meditate, record in a small notebook how long you practiced and the predominant aspect of your meditation — a few quick notes such as “sleepy,” or “couldn’t stop planning for tomorrow,” or “clear and energized,” or “wished I were skiing.” Then at night add a word or two describing your general emotional state that day — “impatient,” say, or “resolved,” “openhearted,” “calm and confident,” “anxious.” At the end of every week, review your journal and see if you notice a relationship between your sitting and the rest of the day.”