It seems very apt to be writing about happiness on New Year’s Day in Venice after enjoying the fireworks over the Canal Grande at midnight, surrounded by hundreds of happy people welcoming in the new year.
The happiness I am talking about here, though, is not a state precipitated by an event, occasion or the sight of fireworks.
I am talking about a state of mind that is felt at a person’s core. It is so deep that it is not unsettled by troubled waters that are stirred up by disappointments, loss or unrealised expectations.
It is resilient in the face of life’s challenges and rises above them. It does not cease to exist when circumstances change – it is persistent and constant.
In contrast, happiness that is only occasioned by an event can be lost when the event is over and people are no longer surrounded by the company of conviviality. This shallower kind of happiness is vulnerable to envy, depression and boredom from the banality of a routine life.
In the sobering moments of New Year’s Day, some people may realise that their life lacks real meaning or purpose. They will go through the routine of formulating resolutions to be broken, instead of developing new habits that will provide a deep sense of happiness and joy – habits such as daily mindful practice.
Goldie Hawn spoke of her abiding happiness and joy experienced through mindfulness and her desire to share this with educators and children. Her life is full of meaning and purpose.
To grow in mindfulness and achieve the attendant calm, clarity and abiding happiness requires practice and persistence – it does not come with an occasional mindful moment.
Regular mindful practice in a way that suits you and your lifestyle will increase your mindful moments and extend to other mindful practices, e.g .you might start with mindful breathing which could lead to mindful eating and/or walking. One mindful practice can grow out of another – and the growth can be exponential if you persist.
One mindful practice that contributes a deep sense of happiness is developing a gratitude journal or regularly expressing gratitude for who you are, what you have in life, the talents you have or the opportunities that you are given. It extends to being grateful for your friends, family and positive colleagues and associates.
You can explicitly provide positive feedback to anyone who has provided a service to you or shown you kindness. Developing an attitude of gratitude contributes to a state of happiness that is impervious to envy – the source of a lot of unhappiness in the world.
A deep sense of happiness is within reach as you grow in mindfulness through regular mindful practice, whatever form this takes.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of jill111 on Pixabay