If you want to experience a rich, enlightened bliss, then you have two role models to choose from:
The first are the monks and yogis with decades of practice. These are the sorts of people who, even without speaking, radiate intense, loving presence. When they look at a person, a flower, a sunrise, they see the beauty within and let themselves be captivated by it.
Your other role models are dogs and children.
It’s hard to imagine being a dog. Every time you see someone or go outside, it’s the most amazing thing. Even something that happens every day leaves you wheezing with excitement.
Maybe you can remember being a child, though.
Once upon a time, everything was new, confusing and mysterious. This is how most kids see the world… and they’re strangely happy about that.
There’s a special flavour of joy that comes naturally to some children.
It’s rare among adults, though.
Unless, of course, they’ve unlearned some painful lessons. If they peeled back the onion and discarded what they didn’t need, then there’s a chance for that light to shine through.
If you want to feel joy, then train yourself to look at familiar things in new ways.
That’s how dogs, monks and kids see the world. It’s also the source of their pure, enlightened joy.
How many trees do you walk or drive past each week? Probably more than you notice. You have places to be. Besides, only weirdos and hippies stop to marvel at trees, right?
Now there’s something worth unlearning.
Some part of your inner mind scans the world, looking for interesting things. Your unconscious searches for danger and opportunities. Any food, rivals, mates, predators, fires and business opportunities around you are worth noticing.
The problem is when you fall into a habit of dismissive thinking. It trains you to not see what is around you.
That tree isn’t interesting because it’s just a tree.
That car isn’t interesting because it’s cheap and ugly.
This person? They’re not interesting because they’re boring.
This opportunity isn’t interesting and I don’t know why.
Some people walk around with eyes open but in total obliviousness. No wonder they can’t find bliss in ‘normal’ things. If you’ve trained your mind to delete the details, then you won’t see what makes everything special.
You can correct this oversight, though. My favourite tool is self-hypnosis. You can remember the whimsy of your childhood, or you could imagine what it’s like to be fascinated by everything.
This takes practice and is easier in a trance state.
And once it becomes a habit, it stops being something you do and becomes something you are.
Building the habit takes thoughtful effort. It becomes effortless effort with the right state of mind.
But if you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves, then here’s your homework. Think of it like yoga for the mind because, like yoga, it brings balance, flexibility and joy.
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