Enhancing the Path Away from Unhappiness
Episode #10 of the course How to become happier: A guide to reprogramming your thinking by John Robin
Welcome to the tenth day of our course on becoming happier.
Yesterday, we learned how to better analyze, right when we catch ourselves in an unhappy moment, the mental reality of our deficit perspective, and how to convert it into an abundance perspective.
This skill is one you will be working on for the rest of your life, and in fact, is as far as our course will go in equipping you with techniques to invert negative thoughts.
What remains, though, is just as important, and there’s a reason I’ve saved it until last.
Strengthening a Chain’s Weakest Links, and Enhancing Its Strongest Ones
The pursuit of happiness is meaningless if one does not address the reality of unhappiness. This is the hardest part of the path, and we have seen how to build up a system to work on it, based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. We went from just being aware that we can invert thoughts, and how to do that, to learning the most advanced technique to practice live-action thought-inversion right when it’s happening.
We have focused on this because of the truth:
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
All gains made by putting on a smile, or laughing, or meditating, come apart when you are truly unhappy inside.
It is common to blame pain, or bad health, or other people, for our unhappiness. But this overlooks the fact that there are many who live in great pain, or who suffer immensely, yet are at peace and happy within themselves.
What this demonstrates is that being happy does not depend on circumstances. Being happy is a lens through which you see both the good and the bad in life.
Without addressing unhappiness, there can be no happiness.
If you are suffering and have poor health, and yet you are happy, then you will pursue remedies and find the courage to improve your suffering and health, because you believe you deserve happiness. If you seek these remedies and they fail, you will turn instead to thoughts of those you love and the time you can spend with them, and what kind of world will live on past you, because you are truly happy, and that happiness transcends your circumstances.
If you address unhappiness and invest in the work to analyze and redirect your thoughts around your core affirmations, then you can take the final step, which is to enhance those strong links in the chain.
This final step in our journey together will be to deepen happiness.
And this applies to everything we have learned:
Happiness in your frame of reference for your happiness meditation. So, the deeper you feel it, the starker the contrast when you notice you are unhappy. And this will drive you to work harder on improving moments of unhappiness.
An Analytical Meditation to Deeper Happiness
We have focused on the real-life beats of your day and how to apply thought inversion, both from analyzing it on paper and from trying to catch yourself feeling unhappy and apply it in real-time.
But you can take happiness meditation a step further, by way of a structured analytical meditation.
Whereas our happiness meditation lasts all day and is a frame of reference for us to see numerous opportunities to invert our perspective, a structured analytical meditation centered on happiness is an opportunity to be undistracted, and immersed in thought.
If you have practiced meditation on your breath, you have developed the basic skill to be present with your thoughts. Consider it preparation for a truly powerful meditation that has a purpose:
During this meditation, your anchor of focus is happiness itself.
This might sound like the meditation trick we learned to invert our perspective, and in some ways it is. But what is different here is that you will sit still, undistracted, in a structured meditation session, and see how your focus on happiness evolves.
You are stripping away the circumstances and actions that surround thoughts and feelings, so you can focus more purely on how your thoughts wander from happiness. Your task is to direct unhappy thoughts toward the compassion and wholesomeness that underlies happiness. Your purpose is to deepen your awareness of what happiness is.
Practice this daily. Even just ten minutes immersed in this meditative pursuit will deepen your awareness of happiness, and how it is defined by the intricate structure of your thoughts.
And what is most beautiful about it is, you will discover new beliefs, new connections, and new insights. You will go past simply finding faulty beliefs behind negative thinking. Even in old age, you will discover how to form beliefs as refreshing and new as those of curious childhood. Like a garden well cared for, your mind will be pruned around this pursuit, and it will be beautiful and abundant in happiness.
And that is the end of our course!
If you found this course helpful, I have fifteen other courses. They are all fun, and if you took them all back-to-back after this one, you would keep your inbox happy for half a year. And, because writing these courses makes me happy, I will keep writing more.
Please share with friends if you think this can help them too. And please reach out by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to comment on this course, or share ideas for future ones.
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