Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Happy no matter what

Enjoying reading Louis Koster's "A new language for life: happy no matter what" at the moment. In a nutshell it's about how we can choose to be happy, independent of what is happening in our lives. It's also about the insight that comes from realising that nothing outside of us inherently has the capacity to make us happy. So what does the author mean by all that? Well you'll have to read his book for that but here's my take on it all below.

Have you ever remembered a happy event and had a smile come to you face. If you visualise yourself as happy then your muscles follow suit. The brain is just a mainframe information processing centre after all. If you tell it you're happy it will send messages to your bodies systems that you are happy. Visualise and feel the emotion and the body will follow suit. Happiness is a choice. It is a habit that we can practise and become skillfull at. In some cultures being happy may be seen as abnormal.  Some cultures value stoicism, the still upper lip, fatalism or a carefree "whatever" attitude. How we respond to the world is largely learnt from our culture, circumstances, our peers and  our family. But we can break free.  Someone has to be first right? The hundred monkey syndrome starts with one monkey. A while back I decided to be such a monkey. Like the author of "Happy no matter what" I'm still practising. Its a skill I practise daily by being aware of where my emotions are coming from, how am I responding to others or circumstances. Changing your response to life is a hell of a big elephant to eat but if you do it one bit at a time you will eventually eat it. Why else are elephants scared of mice.

Part of my own practise is using the basics of Bon Dzogchen meditation as outlined by Tenzin Wangyal in
Awakening The Luminous Mind: Tibetan Meditation for Inner Peace and Joy
and in his
Tibetan Sound Healing. I find boundless space in my solar plexus (under my ribcage) and allow the sense of light and warmth there to awaken into joy. It is not a joy I create but one I am allowing. It is always there. I just choose to awaken to it and allow it to take a greater prominence in my life.

When you start to practise the choice you start to realise that while someone around you might be having a bad day you don't have to have one too. Yes feel compassion for them but you don't have to be miserable too. The world is geared around judgement. Lots of people spend their daily lives passing opinions about other people's actions. When you start to realise that you make the choice about how you react to the world around you suddenly you realise that it is the act of judgement that determines how you feel about something or someone. By taking responsibility for feeling happy of not you become less inclined to judge others because you are no longer making them responsible for your happiness.

For more about Louis Koster and his remarkable life journey visit his website at

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