Category Archives: Happiness

Breath

Your breath happens in the present moment.

You cannot breathe in the past.

You have taken breaths in the past, but your breath does not happen in the past.

You cannot breathe in the future.

There will be breaths that you take in the future, but they haven’t happened yet. You will only be aware of them when they do happen in future moments.

The only breath that you can be aware of and that you can experience is the breath that you are taking right now.

Bringing your awareness to your breath transports you instantly and effortlessly to the present moment. Why is this important? Because this moment, right now is the only moment that actually exists; it is the only moment that you can actually have awareness of. It is the only moment in which you can experience being alive.

Your breath is intrinsically connected with your aliveness. If you are not breathing, you are not alive. Whilst it is true that you can hold your breath; that you can suspend breathing for a period of time. It doesn’t take very long before your body starts screaming at you to breathe. It is impossible for you to be anywhere other than here and now when you are aware only of your breath, (even if you are holding it).

If we focus our awareness totally on one thing, then we are unable to be aware of anything else. If we do become aware of other things then we are no longer aware of our breath, we are distracted; but if we are aware only of our breath then everything else disappears. If we are aware only of our breath then there is no thought. If there is no thought then there isn’t any fear. Fear is nothing more than a thought; fear is not a real thing. If there are no thoughts then there are no judgments of the present situation. If there is no fear and no judgments, then there is no anxiety, no stress; there isn’t any unhappiness in this moment.

You experience freedom.

Fear is not a real thing; a table is a thing, an apple is a thing. Yet people believe that fear is a thing. Because they experience fearful thoughts and these generate emotional and physical reactions they believe that fear is a real thing. The truth is that fear is just an idea, a thought. Just because these thoughts are not created consciously, does not mean they are real. Why are people afraid of different things? Why do some people not seem to fear anything? The answer, because fear is not a real thing, it is a thought.

Fear is so potent because people believe that it is not something they can control. And yet by simply bringing your awareness to your breath, by suspending all thought and fear disappears. By learning to control what you hold in your awareness you can take control of fear and remove it.

Bring your awareness to your breath now. You will notice that it consists of three parts:

You breathe in.

You breathe out.

Then there is a pause.

Close your eyes and follow each of these three parts as they happen for the next few breaths. How do you feel? What happens when you become aware of the pause between breaths?

In the pause between breaths you can become aware of stillness; your mind is still, your body is still.

There is peace in the stillness of the pause between breaths.

In this moment of peaceful stillness you are just being.

You are not a human doing. You are not a human thinking. You are a human being. You can allow yourself to just BE in the pause between breaths.

Being aware of your breath is not an exercise to distract yourself from your fears and anxieties. It is the practice of letting go of “thinking” and “doing”. Of embracing the present moment and of becoming aware of what is and isn’t real. Bringing awareness to your breath is not hiding yourself from reality; it is experiencing being alive, absolutely and in this moment.

Deal Mindfulness Group

The Deal Mindfulness Group is going from strength to strength. There are currently 30 to 40 people that meet every Wednesday. We practise a number of mindful exercises and I talk a bit about the benefits and techniques.

Over the last few weeks we have done some mindful moving, mindful eating and relaxed into awareness of our breathing.

It’s all very relaxed and a lot of fun, if you would like to come along please get in touch or just turn up. At the moment we are meeting every Wednesday at St Nicholas Church in Deal at 7:30pm.

Oh, and it is completely FREE!

Learning by what exactly?

Apparently we learn by doing, in fact I said that very thing myself today. Then I stopped, after all one of my mantras is that we are human beings not human doings. So should I really have said “we learn by being”?

When I uttered the words I was talking about the process of learning hypnotherapy, so in reality I guess the question there was do you learn the most by “doing” hypnotherapy or by “being” a hypnotherapist.

As I think about it and write this I’m beginning to realise that both positions are true, it just depends what it is we want to learn and how far we want to take it. If it’s a particular skill that requires agility, hand eye coordination or a particular technique then repetition and “doing” over and over will be the key. But this can only take you so far. If you wish to really master a skill you must “be” it.

You can learn the technique of playing a musical instrument, you can read and learn all the theory, you can practise and practise, but until you commit to “being” a musician you will not master it.

And so this leads me to happiness. To learn and master the art of happiness must you “do” happy or “be” happy?

3 top tips

There are lots of self help books out there, thousands of them in fact. Some of them are very long, and some of them are very complicated. The aim of all of them is the same, to help people to be happy.

I believe it doesn’t have to be long winded or complicated, people want it to be complicated, because then they can feel special: “Oh I’m such a complicated case, my issues are sooooo complicated and specific, I really must wallow in them and allow myself to be defined by them so that I can feel special and important and different to everybody else!”.

Of course I’m being flippant here and I don’t want to be dismissive of the fact that there are people out there who have experienced terrible things that have damaged them in really awful ways.

But even for them, and everybody else, here are my 3 top tips for being happy.

1: Stop wanting stuff.
Stop wanting stuff you don’t have or wanting stuff to be different. Accepting what you have and accepting how things are is the first step to allowing them to change.

2: Choose to be happy.
Instead of saying “I am not happy”, say “At this moment, I am choosing not to be happy”, even if you just say it in your head. Notice how you begin to think about it differently.

3: Be mindful.
Learn some mindfulness exercises, stop analysing things, stop doing things, start being.

In fact stop reading this, stop thinking this will change things. Just stop. Breathe. Feel the air flowing in and out of your body. Now, choose to be happy about the fact that you are breathing.

Happy Disasters

Some time ago I started thinking about what causes dramatic change, therapy is all about change, people seek therapy because they want to change. They want a big profound change in their lives.

I started thinking about what causes the most profound and dramatic changes in nature and I realised that disasters have the biggest affect; tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, meteor strikes that kind of thing. And so I came up with the principal of a positive disaster, if people want dramatic change in their lives then they need to trigger their own disaster, but a positive one, a happy disaster.

I recently read a book called The Tipping Point, it’s about how ideas and products can become epidemics. How they can escalate and cause huge change across entire communities and populations. What the book highlights is that there are a vast number of small components that all fit together to cause something to “tip”, to become an epidemic. This took me back to my idea of the Happy Disaster. When a disaster happens in nature it doesn’t just happen for no reason, there are many many tiny changes that accumulate over time until the disaster is triggered. Earthquakes don’t happen for no reason, tiny shifts in the movement of the earth’s plates build up over time until finally the energy releases. Meteors don’t appear from nowhere and collide with the earth, an event happens millions of miles away, over time it travels closer, planets have to be aligned in a particular way, gravity has to affect the course of a lump of rock to result in a very specific impact. And so the same is true of those happy disasters, to make them happen there must be a number of tiny events, tiny changes that build and accumulate until, BANG, the disaster happens.

So if you are looking for a major change in your life, look at the little things. What are the tiny changes that you can make that will accumulate and grow to cause something big to happen? If you want to lose weight don’t go on a crash diet, make small changes, little adjustments that will have an impact over time. If you want to reduce your anxiety look around the edges for the small changes that you can make. Patience is the key, make a number of small changes and wait for the disaster to happen. Small changes are easy to make and easy to sustain. It is sustaining them that is so important.

Finding Happiness

Are you trying to find happiness?

Searching for a reserve of happiness that you can tap into and extract from.

A happiness explorer boldly searching unchartered territory on the hunt for lost treasures of happiness?

Let me tell you that you’re wasting your time. Happiness is not a treasure or a fossil fuel. There is not a finite quantity and once it’s gone it’s gone so you need to get your quota now. There are no secret stashes from long lost tribes.

You can’t bottle it, or package it up and sell it on the internet.

Happiness is a state, you create your own means of entering or being in that state. Sometimes other people provide you with a vehicle for getting there. But mostly you have to find your own way. The secret is finding a way past or over the obstacles, or a way to remove the obstacles entirely so that the path to happy is easy to negotiate.