Happiness is a state of “Being” and not something to be achieved. Yet, we are bombarded daily with subliminal messages and images that feed our mind with the toxic message that one day you will be happy if you get that salary raise, can afford that house or buy that car.
Taking time for inner reflection, a retreat or pilgrimage walk puts things into perspective.
The “things” we were chasing in the daily rut become irrelevant. Yes, we need to be able to provide for basic needs like shelter, food and clothing. But most of the bigger things our mind is preoccupied with are not that important in the bigger picture when we refocus on soul purpose and meaning.
In our modern world of digital distraction, we are constantly being pulled away from the task at hand. Multi-tasking is expected and common in most work places. Psychologists have found that distraction is a major cause of unhappiness.
On average we have about 60,000 different thoughts a day with the mind constantly jumping from one thing to the next.
Psychologists at Harvard University conducted a study with 2,250 volunteers, monitoring their thoughts and feelings, to find out how often they were focused on what they were doing, and what made them most happy.
More than half the time people’s minds were wandering to other things. The researchers concluded that reminiscing, thinking ahead or daydreaming tends to make people more miserable, even when they are thinking about something pleasant.
Matthew Killingsworth, a doctoral student in psychology and lead author of the study, wrote in the Journal “Science”:
“A human mind is a wandering mind and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.”
Training the mind to be fully in the present moment is practice, much like starting a physical exercise routine. You become better at it the more you practice.
Mindful walking or treading the ground softly is one method. Slow down your walking to your breathing rhythm, lifting a foot with an in-breath and placing in on the ground with an out-breath.
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant