February 2, 2009
from tibet to alabama...those monks have nuthin' on me
I was somewhat intrigued at the grocery standing in the checkout line and scanning the magazines as I waited. There is always the one cheapo Woman's World there that promises diets, perfect skin, romantic relationships...and joy. Well...I got sucked in - what the hay, it's less than two bucks.
Though this thing is Woman's Day lite, I can really say I enjoyed the article on "Tibetan Joy Secrets - Less Stress, More Happiness". Sure, I scoffed when I first read through the no brainer approach..but being the bored, unemployed person I am recently...I decided to test these tidbits of wisdom. Turns out...they sort of worked.
1. Being mindful - I think that's one of the central tenants of Buddhism. But, I spent the day really trying to notice positive things around me. The food, the weather - really pay attention. What it did for me? It made me not as self absorbed.
2. Remembering We're All the Same - This one didn't make me so joyful so kind of a fail actually. I know we all want to end poverty, suffering and have world peace but the truth of it is, not many people do anything about it. Including me. I have been too wrapped up in my own problems. So..something I need to work with there.
3. Laughing out loud - I felt really silly on this one but since it's just me and my cat....I tried it. The article recommended just forcing yourself to laugh as your body doesn't know the difference between you laughing at a joke and forcing it. It pushes out endorphins regardless...and who does want a nice little kick of happy juice, right? And...in the forced laughing I got tickled at myself and soon, it was real laughter. Definitely a keeper there.
4. Sitting straight up - According to the article, sitting straight allows the spinal cord to send signals to the brain without interruption. This one was sort of woo-woo science to me. And, I love to slump...so, this one hasn't worked for me - YET.
5. Gazing at one object - Meditation. Does gazing lovingly at a new pair of shoes count. This unemployment thing really sucks with the not being able to buy new clothes, shoes or bags...or even camera equipment. But, I am trying to slow my mind by gazing at seashells. Not working so far - I am allowing my mind to wander too much.
6. Listening to bells - More of that woo-woo thing that I haven't bought into...but I know when I used to be able to afford massages, they would have those tinkling bells. They're very pretty and peaceful. Maybe I need to find some bells.
7. Humming - The article cites how monks chant to relax and focus. This sounded silly to me..but I hummed. I hummed the theme to Raiders of the Lost Ark (yeah, yeah - but it was the best in the series) and surprisingly - I did feel better. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and being content that I was getting things done. So...score.
The thing is, I believe we do choose our happiness and our serenity. None of the things in the article were a revelation to me. Deep down, I knew all of these things and let myself get caught up in the poor me self involvement. Humming, skipping, blowing bubbles, flipping pancakes, wearing a silly piece of clothing (like my pink chuck high tops), talking to my cat, all of these bits and pieces of whimsy...they make me happy for the bit. And as I collect the bits, they string together into more bits and more frequent bits. And then I really can laugh out loud at my silly cat as he drifts off so deep that the only thing keeping him on the arm of the chair is his butt and claws on his back legs. That makes me laugh.
scribbled by Char