Happiness can seem like it’s dependent on our external reality.  If only we had a nicer apartment, a more understanding partner, 15 pounds less on our bodies, more money in the bank, then we would be happy.  That’s the storyline that our mind tells us.  This seemingly provides the impetus for us to want those things we don’t have.  Many wise beings have told us over and over that true happiness is not dependent on our external reality but instead relies more on an internal subjective experience.  Positive thinking is not the answer though.  Telling yourself you are happy with affirmations over won’t likely get rid of that knot in the pit of your stomach.

Instead use your body to point you in the right direction.  Let me repeat this as it cannot be overstated.  Your body will point you in the right direction by showing you where your barriers to happiness are.  The way to do this is to take a short 20 minute break.  Turn your phone to silent.  Close the door.  Now sit down and begin to breath using soft belly breathing.  Find the area of your body where you feel the most tension and gently set your consciousness there.  The key word here is gently.  You may feel anger, resentment, fear or any other emotion.  You may wish it would just go away.  That’s all okay.  But then imagine the tension (it could be in your shoulders, your heart, pit of your stomach, legs etc.) is a jailhouse door.  Your job is to pick the lock and you have the finest lock picking set available.  Lock picking requires a soft touch and sensitivity to the inside of the lock that is hidden from view.  Your shoulder tension is that lock.  Caress it.  Listen to it.  Taste it.  Smell it. See it.  Approach it from different angles.  Is there movement or is it fixed?  Is there a color or temperature?  Does it have an odor or specific taste?  Investigate it.  By allowing your consciousness to sit on the area of tension it will begin to transform and you will eventually walk through that door.  As you pick more locks you will feel spontaneous happiness begin to arise inside you like a bubbling spring.

Don’t worry if it seems like nothing happens or if every time you sit down the same area of tension arises.  By exercising patience even when you feel impatient, you will learn how the process of unlocking works.  You may see pictures and vivid memories, hear sounds, smell odors, feel movement, even taste strange flavors.  Meet these sensations as completely as you can.  They are often uncomfortable but can also be pleasant.  As you continue this practice, each new area of tension simply becomes another lock in a new door.  Every time you open a door you go from a smaller space to larger one with more tools, more freedom to move, more sunlight, and air to breath.  By relaxing into each moment, and opening the doors inside your body, happiness will begin to flow through you in a flowing and undisturbed way.

– NAABW Team