Pathways to Happiness

As human beings we are incredibly sensitive organisms. In any given moment there are many things happening in our experience. And yet the majority go unnoticed.

Right now, take some moments to tune into the body experience. What is revealed?

Take a few moments to explore this.

What did you notice? A particular area or sensation? The whole body field? Was your attention drawn to a particular flavour of body experience; such as pleasant or unpleasant?

Now bring the awareness back to the body, with an intention to notice something that you weren’t aware of before. For example, if your attention was drawn to unpleasant sensations before, what happens if you now make an intention to notice neutral or pleasant sensations?

Take a few moments to explore this. When the mind moves away, acknowledge that. Take a moment to relax any tension in the body and  bring it back to a neutral or pleasant body sensation.

What does this reveal?

  • About the nature of experience?
  • About the nature of our mind?

Habitually we experience life as events happening and being known:

– The body aches

– The mind wanders off

– Someone does something that affects us

And yet when we look more closely at experience we see that it is shaped by many conditions including mental habits, perception and attention. It is not fixed or separate from the mind.

What we perceive is shaped by where attention goes. Yet as we saw, we have the capacity to intentionally influence this, and to change mental habits over time.

Through practice we can learn to increase this flexibility of mind and to apply it in ways that deepen understanding and increase wellbeing.

Some practice suggestions:

In your formal practice, make an intention to notice the pleasant, whether your object of meditation is body or breath. Do this through tuning in to whatever is pleasant or ok in the experience.

At the end of the practice time reflect on how that was for you

In daily life, choose 2 or 3 times in the day when you tune in to the pleasant or the ok. For example while having a meal, walking from one point to the other, washing your hands.

Take time to reflect on how that was

When you find yourself challenged by something; the weather, discomfort in the body, an interaction with another. What happens when you tune in to something that is ok or unpleasant in your experience in that moment?

May our practice nourish the wellbeing of all beings

Zohar