Growing Happiness in the Mind
Growing Happiness in the Mind. As you train the mind to rejoice in happiness, you gain many benefits. You feel more fulfilled by joy.
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The Attitude of Gratitude
This exercise comes from the Buddhist practice of mudita, which means “appreciative joy.”
It can be understood as simply “showing up” for happiness with a caring presence.
As you train the mind to rejoice in happiness, you gain many benefits.
You feel more fulfilled by joy, recognize happiness more easily in your life, and train the mind to treat happiness as an important experience.
Find a comfortable posture and invite in relaxation from the beginning of your practice.
As you breathe, appreciate the life offered from each inhalation.
With the exhalation, let go of any tension in the mind or body.
Bring to mind a time in which you recently experienced happiness.
It may be something small, like seeing a friend, watching the sunset, or the simple joy of lying down at night.
When you have something, allow yourself to feel the experience of contentment.
With the intention of cultivating gratitude, offer yourself a few phrases of appreciative joy.
Keep the memory in your mind, and offer these phrases:
May my happiness continue.
May my happiness grow
May I be present for the joy.
May I appreciate the joy in my life.
If your experience feels more like contentment or ease, you can substitute the words that resonate with you.
You know your own experience, so be true to yourself.
Offer the phrases silently in your head, finding a rhythm with the practice.
Focus your attention on the words, the intention of appreciating the happiness, and the feeling of contentment from your memory.
After five minutes, release the memory and the phrases from your mind.
Bring to mind somebody else in your life who has experienced some happiness recently.
Picture this person in your mind, smiling as you observe their joy.
As you did with yourself, offer phrases of gratitude.
Rejoice as much as possible in their happiness.
Offer these phrases:
May your happiness continue.
May your happiness grow.
May I be present for your joy.
I’m happy for you.
When the mind wanders, come back to the phrases.
You can return to the visualization of this person smiling to bring up the happiness, and start with the phrases again.
Continue this for five minutes.