Want more happiness? Change your filter.


“Peace Comes from within.   Do not seek it without.”  Buddha

Want more happiness in your life? Change your filter!bIMG_6860

Sometimes it’s easy to see the joy and the beauty in our lives. Sometimes it’s a little harder.

What if we could find more peace and contentment even during the ups and downs of daily life?  We can.  It’s just a matter of changing our filters.

First of all we have to realize that life is not coming at us.  It’s actually coming from us.  Everything that our senses perceive passes through the filter of our past experiences.

Because of this we can create our own suffering.   We are so conditioned to react in certain ways to certain things that we don’t realize that our negative reactions and bad feelings are actually coming from us, not the situation.   If we can start to look at life through a new filter, it is possible to reduce that conflict and stress.

Here’s an example of how it can work:

Say you are running late for work and run into the grocery store for a couple of items to eat for lunch. The person in front of you is taking forever counting out his change, dropping it, and chatting endlessly with the cashier.

Maybe you hate being late. Big trigger.  This additional delay gets all your stress hormones going and you find yourself all worked up and feeling really frustrated with the situation.

Stuff happens.   And this situation you are in is not going to change one bit just because you are feeling frustrated.   All you can change is your reaction.

Let’s take a look at the filter here. What if we looked at this situation through a filter of GRATITUDE.

Really? Yes.

Let’s see how this could work. First, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down. You know, the kind we practice in yoga class. It works.
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Ahh, that feels better!
Then think “THANK YOU.”

How can we find gratitude in this situation? Lots of ways:

-Thank you for teaching me patience.
-Thank you for teaching me it is not wise to run into the grocery store when I am already late.
-Thank you for reminding me that I need to get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so I won’t make myself late.

It feels a lot better to breathe and think “thank you” than the alternative- blaming, frustration, and stress. It actually feels quite peaceful. In the end, by looking through a filter of gratitude, we have reduced our own suffering.

In yoga this is part of the concept called saucha, or contentment.   It is one of the Niyamas, the ethical principles of yoga meant to make our path less turbulent, and more joyful for ourselves and those around us.

Try using the filter of Gratitude as you go about your day. Things will look a lot better.

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There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path. Buddha

Leslie   July 2016

The Yamas:

Ahimsa: Non-violence
Satya: Truthfulness
Asteya: Non-stealing
Bramacharya: Respecting relationships
Aparigraha: Non-grasping

The Niyamas:

Saucha: Purity
Santosha: Contentment
Tapas: Self-discipline, training your senses
Svadhyaya: Self-study, inner exploration
Ishvara Pranidhana: Surrender to a power greater than ourselves

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