- A Thought Away" article printed in the Yoga Alliance
Yoga Matter newsletter was reprinted in this May 2007 issue
of Yoga, Mind Body Spirit
is Just a Thought Away: Using Meditation to Change Your Life
By Georgianna Anderson, RYT, SMC
do you describe it? How do you feel it?
Happiness is this
innate part of life that eludes many of us most of the time. Life
is challenging, devastating, rewarding, contemplative, nurturing,
and sometimes happy. In my teachings as a yoga teacher and therapist,
it never ceases to amaze me how much people desire something as
simple as feeling happy. Everyone wants to feel good, feel valued,
and feel real. Happiness is often seen as a coveted award for
the select few - celebrities, the wealthy, the powerful. Not true!
is just a thought away. Really. Let's explore how to be happy
every day. The hardest part is just believing that you can be
happy just because you choose to be. I have shared this time and
again, always with the same result. Everyone leaves happy. Staying
that way, that is the challenge.
just a moment, think of something that makes you feel happy. Imprint
that image or thought into your head and sit with it for a full
two minutes. Roll it around. Savor it. Now, do you "feel"
happy? Has your attitude shifted just a little bit? Yes? Where
did that change come from? Why did just thinking a happy thought
make you feel happy? Take this a step further and think about
the feeling of "happy", not associating it with any
memory or situation (again, give yourself two minutes). If you're
really working with me, you may feel happy without relating it
to any particular place or event. Now we're getting somewhere.
Now that your
paradigm has shifted, how do we take the next step in being honestly
content in our lives? Wouldn't that be wonderful? This is where
the effort begins. You have the potential for great joy in your
life at all times - you just need to find it within yourself and
bring it into consciousness.
a great tool for allowing you to experience any emotion with great
detail, feeling and commitment. Let's do another exercise. Give
yourself a whole five minutes for this one! Sit comfortably, preferably
in a chair that supports your upper back and spine. Both feet
are on the floor and your hands are comfortable on your lap. Close
your eyes and notice your breath entering and exiting. Count 10
deep breaths and then relax deeper into your chair. Allow the
breath to move freely in and out. Move your awareness to the word
"happiness". See it printed on the back of your eyelids.
Hear it spoken by your inner voice. Feel it connected to your
breathing. As you breathe in say "happiness"; as you
breathe out say "within". "Happiness - Within".
Continue this breathing mantra for a few minutes. Try putting
a little smile on your face while doing this. It feels good!
Just five minutes
into your meditation you notice a shift in your attitude. Maybe
you can't put your finger on it but it's definitely there. You
realize that you feel better, you feel happy just because you
chose to. The good feeling didn't come from making the cover of
People,, winning the lottery or any other "external"
symptom. It's within you all the time.
Here's the challenge.
You can wake up every morning and choose to be happy. You can
drive your car in rush hour and choose to stay calm. You can have
a difference of opinion with someone and choose to not get upset.
Life is all about our choices. If you experience a negative thought
or feeling that won't go away, it's because you choose to dwell
on it. Let it go. Choose to feel happy again, to feel ok about
It takes practice.
What we practice, we strengthen. Wake up every day and plant a
happy thought. Ride it as long as you can and refresh it as often
as needed. Nourish your ability to feel good. Put positive notes
in places you'll see them every day. If you realize your feelings
of happiness have slipped away, just accept it and get back in
there with renewed determination. Keep coming back; keep showing
up. Have other happy people into your life, it's contagious. When
in doubt, breath "Happiness - Within".
Georgianna lives in Phoenix, AZ with her two Italian Greyhounds.
She teaches yoga as a profession and is offering this healing
modality to some of the Indian communities in her area.