The real key to happiness
Over the years, I have learned that what shapes my happiness is compassion and co-operation. With all the recent media attention around the Brexit hard border issue in Northern Ireland, i had to remind myself to stay out of the drama and focus on what is really important. I have to say, even with a lot of effort, it did get to me at times. Why? My childhood. I grew up in Belfast where I experienced first hand the effect of conflict. The nature of political positioning over the border between the North and South of Ireland reminded me of the days I witness bitter arguments around societal divides, whilst so many of us were just trying to live in harmony and build a life.
I kept thinking why have we not moved on to co-operation, and why is it we cannot focus on what will work best for all the people?
Living from the Heart
Of course co-operation, compassion, harmony come from the heart and encourage us to think about what is important for everyone involved, not just ourselves. Unfortunately, in the political arena, the dynamics are not really geared up for this kind of focus – instead we see battles triggered by power and money. Money is necessary of course, but it cannot bring happiness if there is no peace of mind and peace is sourced from our heart.
In retrospect, despite the ongoing violence of the divided society I grew up, many people found peace in their heart by co-operating with other people no matter what their beliefs because they focussed on what was truly important. The stories of community and co-operation did not make the headlines but as a teenager witnessing these kinds acts, it gave me a glimmer of hope in humanity as the violence just got worse. The lesson I took away from that confusing time is, that despite our circumstances most of us want to live in harmony.
How Mindful Focus Leads To Happiness
Today, as a mindfulness teacher, when I see these patterns play out again, I remind myself to focus on my heart and the innate compassion, co-operation and basic human spirit that is within us all. It is a simple and really effective tool to help me rise above the events in the world and reconnect with my own happiness. Some days it can take a lot of focus but is so worth it!
So while society starts to crumble through the misuse of power and money and lack of respect, we need to look inside to build our own internal structures to guide us through this emerging change.
3 Ways To Work Through Change
If we look at the worlds problems and ask what solutions we can create to solve them, that solution invariable requires this greater compassion and more co-operation from all of humanity. So we need to search inside and re-connect more deeply with our own innate goodness and build our own unique internal structures to keep us connected to what is important to us.
I believe what we need on a practical level have three main components;
- strong emotional regulation,
- clear mental focus and flexibility
- a connection to our innate human spirit-the one that inspires heroic action in times of crisis and random acts of kindness.
Using mindfulness of the heart helps to connect us to what is important and keep us connected and this is becoming more and more important as the world around us spins out with one crisis or natural disaster after another. But why wait for a crisis? Why not develop these structures now, in our everyday lives so they are our living practise and strong enough in a crisis to help not just ourselves but those around us.
Get yourself connected by building the internal structure your need and putting techniques into practice in your everyday life to support your own happiness.
Written by Colette Savage
Colette is a mindfulness and human values teacher with experience in corporate environments, schools and working directly with parents, children and teens. She runs a variety of workshops and retreats at Creacon, including 1 day Mindfulness of the Heart workshops.
Stress Release & Mindfulness Retreat
February 3, 2018
For more information email Colette.