“Why are you so enchanted by this world, when a mine of gold lies within you?” ~Rumi
Happiness, love, and joy—we spend our lives in search of them. We often look to external things to fulfill our desire to experience them. A relationship, a trip abroad, a career, or maybe that shiny new car. We can spend our lives chasing these desires and believing that once we check everything off our list of life accomplishments, we will experience them all.
But what if I shared with you that all of this—happiness, love, and joy—exists in you right now? That you are the source, not the external items. What if I told you that living in a perpetual state of love and joy is your natural state of being?
Would you think I’m full of BS? That I’m living in a hippie Never-Never Land?
Please let me share with you a few simple exercises that showed me my true self.
Exercise #1: The Love Wave
Close your eyes and take a minute to connect in your heart with a person in your life that could use a little love. Feel yourself smiling into their eyes and embracing them in a giant, warm hug.
Allow the love to flow. Sit in this love. Let it grow in strength and surround you both. Then send it out into the world, creating a wave of love. Know that you can come back to this place of flowing love at any time.
Try this now and then read on.
Hopefully, you just had a wonderful experience of love. Now I have a question for you. Where did the love originate from? The person you were thinking of, or you?
It was from you. The person you pictured just helped you unlock the love. You are love. You can actually imagine many different things to unlock it. Try a smiling baby, or playtime with a pet, or a concept such as world peace. These things are just the keys that unlock the true love that is in your heart.
You can access this love any time you want. You are just tapping into your true being. It is who you are.
I like to start my day off with this exercise. I tend to do it in the peacefulness of the morning light, right after my morning meditation. Just open your front door or a window and feel the fresh air on your face, then close your eyes and start. It is a beautiful way to begin the day.
Exercise #2: The Gift of Giving
One day I was browsing in a bookstore when an old man approached me. He had snow white hair and was wearing a threadbare, beige sweater. He handed me a chocolate rose and said, “Have a beautiful day,” I was taken aback. Who was this man? Was he trying to poison me? Was he hitting on me? I reluctantly took the chocolate rose and said, “Thank you.”
The clerk noticed my discomfort and told me that the man buys a dozen chocolate roses every day and hands them out to random strangers. I suddenly felt special.
This incident happened many years ago. Even though my initial reaction was one of unease, I remember this man with fondness. When he finally passed away the entire town mourned. There was a glowing write up in the local newspaper about him. He had brightened the days of countless residents with his gift of a chocolate rose.
I invite you to pick a day this week and give everyone you meet that day a gift. It doesn’t have to be a physical gift, though it can be. It could also be a compliment, your undivided attention, or a heartfelt smile.
Don’t expect anything in return. Remember my reaction to the old man? You might not always be met with gratitude. Just practice the act of giving.
At the end of the day, notice how you feel. You spent the day leaving heart prints everywhere you went. Did this bring you joy? Is the joy within you or did you take it from the people you met?
Exercise #3: The Vulcan Mind Meld
We all have goals and expectations. They are important. But what happens when we can’t fulfill them? If we don’t get that promotion or find our perfect mate? We can become disheartened and depressed. How do we prevent this?
Close your eyes and imagine yourself ten years from now. Give your future self that thing you believe will bring you happiness. Maybe it’s kids, money, power, or something else entirely. Notice how you feel. You might feel confident and secure. Or perhaps loved and important. Whatever you feel, allow it to expand and grow. Sit in it. Enjoy it.
Then, while keeping your attention on the way you feel, bring back the image of yourself today. Think about what you already have that fulfills you.
Maybe you don’t have kids, but you have amazing friends. Maybe you wanted a better income, but you can afford things you enjoy already. Look for the abundance within you now. Keep going until your “present self” feels the same as your “future self.”
It’s almost like a mind meld—make those two beings one. Again, sit in the wonderfulness of it all. When you are ready, open your eyes.
Try this out before reading further.
Do you feel happy?
When we live our lives from a place of lack we experience suffering and discontentment. We are always searching for the external thing that will make us happy. Rather than focusing on the things you don’t have, try living from a place of fullness. You already have an abundance of things to enjoy and appreciate—you just have to change your perspective.
All that security, love, confidence, happiness, and joy you saw in the vision of your “future self” is accessible right now. Everything you experienced is within you today. Recognizing the abundance or fullness of your life is the key to happiness. If you experience that abundance, not meeting a goal or expectation becomes a minor bump on the road.
I refer to the belief that we need external things to be happy as “the big lie.” Because when we finally finish off our checklist of life’s “wants,” we often experience “the great disappointment.” The list doesn’t bring us the happiness we thought it would. It’s not the source. We are.
This frequently happens when people become suddenly wealthy. They think that they will be happier. They are surprised when they aren’t. In fact, having a lot of money comes with its own set of problems.
Exercise #4: A Gratitude Nap
This exercise imprints you with the beauty of your life as it is now.
Lie down and get comfortable. Use as many pillows and blankets as you like.
Set a timer for three minutes.
For those three minutes, state out loud things you are grateful for. It’s a bit difficult at first. Please know every item does not have to be deep. Be grateful for the couch you’re lying on, the length of your hair, sand on the beach. Anything goes.
After the three minutes, set an intention to be open to whatever is there for you to receive. Surrender as much as you can.
Rest for ten minutes. Notice at the end of the “nap” how you feel. I’m willing to bet you feel a lot lighter after basking in the glow of all your life’s goodness.
We spend so much of our time dealing with the pressures of life that we forget to do the things that unlock our love and joy. Our true nature gets covered by layers of life experiences and traumas.
There is an Ayurvedic concept that you can shine with so much light that the darkness has no place to take hold. That light is within you now. It is your true state of being. It just needs to be set free.
Tips to help access the joy, love, and light of your true being:
- Start your day with the love wave exercise.
- Make it a priority to do one thing each day that unlocks your joy.
- Live life from a place of fullness and abundance rather than from a place of lack.
- Practice gratitude.
I would like to thank all of my teachers who have shared these beautiful exercises with me. Please feel free to share them too.