About Mindset, Awareness and Happiness

By Kirstie Shapiro

According to The UK Health & Safety Executive Report: “One in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point. While mental health problems are common, most are mild, tend to be short-term and are normally successfully treated, with medication, by a GP”. One in four is a large number of people struggling daily with their mental health.

I came across this quote from Helen Keller: “Happiness is about what we think, how we feel, what we do for others and only then for ourselves.”

Linked with above quote from the HSE this triggered a deep contemplation: how consistently are we able to think and act in ways that genuinely make us and others happy? The answer for many of us is potentially, well, not very much. If Helen Keller is right in saying that ‘happiness is about what we think and how we feel”, how much control do you have right now of directing your own thoughts, let alone your own feelings? And finally, if Helen Keller is right in suggesting that happiness stems from what we do for others, before we do anything for ourselves, well, how does that fit into our modern culture of me, me, me and then maybe you, but only if there is something in it for… yes, you guessed it… me!? And we wonder why there is an epidemic of depression, anxiety and stress, and why happy people are seen as “unusual” or “weirdos” who must be on something – can I have some too please!?

Having spent a time with Buddhist Monks and Nuns, Christian Priests, Islamic practitioners and world-renowned teachers like Frans Stiene founder of International House of Reiki (one of the few westerners been granted permission to train and study with the Monks in Japan), I have discovered a consistent trend in the pursuit of mental, emotional and spiritual stability. What I have discovered is that there is no actual path to joy and happiness, there is no great big secret being kept from us all. Happiness in itself, is the path and Love is the super charger behind it. Understanding this at least on an intellectual level doesn’t really help us attain this state of being, where we have access to this fountain of joy, creativity, focus and stamina, so necessary in our daily entrepreneurial and business-related pursuits.

Even in business, where sometimes Love seems remote if not even non-existent within the daily grind, we still need to be open to the possibility that behind each action is the possibility of a universal type of Love that could energise and motivate each action. What we need to come to understand, even in a business setting, is that the cultivation of a healthy mind is in the daily practice of Happiness which can be found in each moment.

The practice of happiness is learning to be so present to each moment, that the choice of happiness in that moment, can be taken. Happiness is a moment by moment choice.

How do you become so present to each moment, so that you can begin making the choice that is happiness, I hear you ask? The answer again is a simple old practice, passed down through the ages, the practice mindful awareness, which is strengthened and developed through meditation.

Meditation, contrary to common belief is not about “emptying the mind”. The art of meditation is all about being intentionally fully present to each thought, emotion, sensory feeling and urge that presents itself without being affected by it (positively or negatively), without judgement (right or wrong) and with gentle kindness and curiosity. The image used is that of a mountain (you), the thought is a cloud passing by the mountain, maybe even enveloping the mountain, and yet leaving the mountain completely undisturbed.

Another realization I have now become aware of is that Happiness is Love! Gasp, shock, confusion!?!?!! What!!!!? Well at least that’s how I felt.

Yes, Happiness is Love – Loving all of life, just as it is and just how it isn’t, while working to tweak it just a little bit at a time, as is needed.

I would like to give an explanation as to why I am Emphasising “Happiness” with a capital “H” and “Love” with a capital “L”, it is because the Happiness and Love I am referring to is not the fleeting variety that may, for instance, come from eating a piece of chocolate, or the sparkle in a companions/potential companions eye, nor the fragrance of a rose which dissipates as soon as it arrives – the Love and Happiness I am referring to, is the deep eternal, non-judgemental, all-encompassing, unconditional variety. True Love and Happiness if you like.

The act or art of Love is a moment to moment opportunity in each action we take and word we speak. I have always seen life as an opportunity to make other’s life experience as lovely as possible – so nothing then is ever a chore – only ever an opportunity to Love. We are all here together in this life, working together, living together, socializing together, the least we can do is support one another by making the journey easier and lovelier. It is easy if you try…. I think John Lennon might has alluded to this as well.

Treating others with Love, Respect and Dignity is nothing more nor less than what we might like to receive from others ourselves. Love is a practice just like Happiness and the work so well together, being different aspects of the same intention.

Cultivating Love is a particular form of meditation, where we invite ourselves to open our hearts even to those, we may find resistance towards. In fact, it is within that space of resistance where the practice really begins to work its magic. When we can find the diamonds in others, it opens our hearts in ways we never thought possible, adding a richness to our lives that is completely delicious and invigorating. It also helps us increase our productivity, focus, creativity, and clarity in our work and in our lives. I invite you to take on board this practice for 5 minutes a day at work or in your business and notice how things change.