Widen The Base Of Healthy Pleasures

Widen The Base Of Healthy Pleasures

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

The state of joyousness is a natural state of mind, according to an ancient Indian school of thought.

Nowadays, in view of the tensions, worries and pressures we face, it appears that unhappiness or depression is the natural state of mind.

What's happening to us? If the ancient school of thought was valid, why does the so-called natural state of mind become so elusive and hard to sustain except some brief moments? The problem, according to the ancient school of thought, is that negative thoughts and emotions, the trials and tribulations of everyday life, the usual and unusual stresses and strains of life, memories, issues related to the past and the future keep interfering and blocking our access to the state of joyousness, the natural state of mind.

Whether one believes in that or not, there are some psychological benefits of subscribing to such a school of thought. One such benefit, for example, is that it offers hope. The joy of life is in there somewhere and all you have to do is to somehow find a way to access it.

Another psychological benefit of such a belief is that it gives a certain direction for seeking that state of joy. Remove that which is blocking your access to it.

Some experience extraordinary pleasure learning about a brand new concept or theory. Some are motivated by humanitarian values and can enjoy every minute working on such goals.

We do better in life when we broaden the range of our interests and avenues of healthy pleasures. Then we are not ever likely to be deprived of pleasure and joy.

Some people's concept of pleasure and fun is going out on a vacation. But, they don't have money to go on vacation. So, they think how can I ever have any fun, if I don't have money? They deprive themselves of many such avenues of pleasure by telling themselves something like, "Every thing costs money and I don't have it."

The things that can provide us the deepest sense of joy and peace are totally free! But, you have to open your senses and your heart. Within our universe, pleasures abound! Consider the beautiful moon in the night sky, the rising sun, the star study sky, a waterfall or brook rolling down through the forest, an ocean beach, a rose in bloom, or a lofty mountain peak catching your sight. The opportunities are limitless. They can fill one with awe and gratitude when one becomes truly aware.

Furthermore, visualization of pleasant scenes and memories in the mind's eye is not the only medium that can help. Hearing the sound of ocean, streams, creek, river or drops of water falling on rocks, the chirping of birds and rustling winds in the mind's ear is also helpful. Likewise, feeling the cool breeze in the mind's "skin," and evoking pleasant smells and tastes can produce pleasant and relaxing experiences for us.

Concentration and total awareness of the present moment can be very peaceful. But, we often press the "automatic button" and tune into the past or future robbing ourselves of that peace.

A man called "Auto Pilot" asked his life coach called "Coach Moment", "Coach, what is the secret of your happiness?'

"When hungry I eat and when tired I sleep," answered Coach moment.

"It's easy! I can do that" said Automatic Pilot and returned home to implement the newly learned principle in his own life.

After several months of trying the formula of happiness without much luck, Automatic Pilot came back to Coach Moment complaining, "I am still not happy. I ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired, the same way as you do."

It's not the same," said the coach.

"Why not?'

The coach said, "When you eat you do not only eat. You constantly weave the yarn of "should've, could've and would've. When you sleep, you take a thousand idle thoughts and wasted emotions to bed with you. That's why your way is not my way."

Set a goal of minimizing the thinking time regarding the past and the future and maximizing the time focusing on the present.

You don't need the entire time of your waking hours in planning the future and analyzing the past. Sit down with paper and pencil and take half an hour every day to do just that. Don't do anything else during that time. Half an hour every day is plenty of time.

Of course, it's easier said than done. You will find yourself slipping into the old thinking habits hundreds of times a day. It is extremely rare if not impossible to regulate and discipline the thought process all the time. But, it is good to set the target high and then gracefully accept falling short of it every time.

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Copyright 2004, Mind Publications 
Posted June 2004


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