A complaint I sometimes hear from folks who are trying to be happy by practicing meditation is that meditation is just not working. Putting effort to change your mental state does sometimes lead to frustration. Gratefulness, however, is a wholesome mental state which changes everything.
notice when you naturally feel content in your daily life
Begin to notice moments in your day when you naturally feel peaceful and content.
If you tend to have a life filled with drama, like in your workplace, start being aware of moments when you’re not uncomfortable, fretful, or consumed.
wholesome states of mind
The key could be for you to cultivate wholesome states of mind.
In order to experience deeper well-being my teachers taught me to deliberately develop specific wholesome mental states, such as kindness, generosity, empathy, well-wishing and gratefulness.
These mental states have an expansive quality; they open your heart and create more ease in your mind. But more importantly, they condition the following moment, which leads to more contentment and joy.
unwholesome states of mind
They contrast with the unwholesome mental states, such as greed, anger and envy, which provide momentary pleasure but actually contract the mind and lead to discomfort, distress and frustration.
I am reminded of the Overeater’s Anonymous slogan: “a moment of bliss on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”
cultivate the wholesome
Take an honest look at what mental states come up for you both on and off the cushion. Are they wholesome and lead to inner ease and expansiveness? And if wholesome mental states do not arise, try to make a genuine attempt to cultivate them.
This is a lifetime’s practice.
Mindfulness allows us to simplify our life, moment by moment we are present with what is presented to us by our senses.
When we experience the tug and push of compelling thoughts or emotions we gently acknowledge them and come back to the utter simplicity of this breath, or this sound, or the touch of our feet in “rubbah slippahs” as we walk.
We come back again and again, gently, kindly, by simply letting go of everything that is not this breath, this sound, this touch, this smell.
And in this letting go sometimes we get a glimpse, an intuition, that this moment is enough, just as it is.
I did not read books the first summer; I hoed beans. Nay, I often did better than this. There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands.
Moment by mindful moment we nurture the present by simply being here for it, welcoming it, silently grateful for this gift that is that is this breath, this sound, this touch, this smell of the plumeria blossoms outside my window.
This silent gratefulness is one of the most powerful wholesome mental states.
the splendor of the present
Step by step, the path of mindfulness reveals the splendor of the present here in just this moment.
When we are silently grateful, we appreciate our life just as it is. And through this appreciation, we feel compassion and loving-kindness for others.
In other words, we find contentment.
This is grateful mind yoga.
Katina and I are here to support your meditation practice in any way we can, just contact us through the Contact Page on this site. Or if you live in Honolulu, or ever visit, feel free to drop by our free, weekly meditation evenings.