I started meditating during the first lockdown in 2020. I have an app called Headspace that I try to meditate with on a daily basis. For 10 days I did a meditation program on the subject of happiness. In today's meditation it was said: Make yourself aware of how often you criticize yourself or suppress your feelings. However, if you accept these thoughts or feelings, become aware of them and then consciously let them go again, then you can achieve clarity and feel happiness.
So, it got me interested and I did some research and found a very good interview on the subject of happiness meditation and whether being happy is the ultimate goal in life. You can read it here. It's an interview with the American neurobiologist Richard Davidson. He talks about the latest research that explains the physiological awareness of emotions and how we can learn to be happy.
What I found exciting:
- There are a number of factors that affect a person's satisfaction.
- In order to be permanently happy, we should pay attention to existing positive experiences, resilience, generosity and mindfulness.
- Being happy can be learned, trained and improved, but it can also be made worse.
- Even 7 hours of meditation (within a 2 week period) show measurable changes in the brain.
- Is happiness the ultimate goal in life?
Answer by Richard Davidson: I don't believe that happiness should be the ultimate goal in life, but it should be a side effect of the ultimate goal. From a Buddhist point of view, one of the most important goals in life is to alleviate the suffering of others. This requires qualities such as generosity and warmth towards our fellow human beings. And it is precisely these qualities that help us to be happy. Probably the quickest way to become happy is if we can manage to reduce other people's suffering.
In my area, the question of happiness is a big topic. Especially in this year, which brings so much uncertainty, many people are concerned with how they can be happy despite these pandemic circumstances and how they can feel this happiness.
There is 4 concrete tips for more happiness in life:
1. Sometimes a feeling or thought pattern obscures the joy. What is it? Try to be mindful, listen to yourself, notice what feeling or thought that is, and try to let go of it.
2. Find opportunities to remember the feeling of joy. When were you particularly happy? What was different there? What did you do differently? Can you bring these factors back into your life?
3. Find activities every day that will bring you back in touch with the feeling of joy.
4. Try to strike a balance between kindness, empathy, poise, and joy. When we remember that, we lay the foundation for a happy mind.