Are you feeling trapped? In your job, your body, your life?
All too often we think life is a wheel in motion, and we are just a spoke, rolling down the road.
And just as often, we focus on what is wrong with our lives. Our thighs are too thick, our forehead too large, our boss too demanding, our house too dirty, too small, too empty.
But if we only think about these things, and we constantly recycle these thoughts, where will we be six months from now?
To answer that question honestly, where were you six months ago?
It’s actually quite easy to change this pattern. And it is a pattern, one engraved in our brain. How do you change the pattern?
Make a new one.
Anne Cushman writing in The Yoga Journal, says she focuses on the good things, and she does it on a daily basis. It is her wake-up ritual. “This little ritual sets the tone for an asana practice in which I am tuned in to countless blessings that I might otherwise have overlooked: the complex, effortless coordination of muscles in the simplest forward bend; the peace that comes in the pause after a full exhalation; the release of the knot in my spine just behind my heart as I twist.
Instead of looking for what feels wrong in a posture, I seek out what feels right and invite that action to expand.”
I assume if you’re reading this, machete wielding men will not break into your home and rob you. Your building will not be bombed tonight. You turn a knob and clean water flows freely. You eat today. Your tastebuds saver your dinner. Your lungs fill with air each time you take a breath.
Seek out what feels right and ask it to expand.
Instead of envying others’ homes, bodies, posessions, let’s cultivate our innate quality of mudita, or “joy”—a boundless capacity to savor life’s blessings, regardless of whether they’re showered on us or on other people.
The Dalai Lama—someone who radiates joy, despite the horrors he has lived through—explains the benefits of cultivating mudita: “It’s only logical,” he said. “If I am only happy for myself, many fewer chances for happiness. If I am happy when good things happen to other people, billions more chances to be happy!”
Count your blessings.
Feel the joy.
Ask it to expand.