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By November 28, 2011December 9th, 2014Claudia's Corner

…and you want to know how to be happy.

Think happy thoughts!

I could actually end the blog right there since there is no secret to happiness and there is only one act that creates that state. But you might get angry and that doesn’t take us to the happy place.
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln

There are two minds: conscious and sub-conscious. The conscious mind is the queen bee, the boss. The sub-conscious mind is the drone, the one that gets stuff done. Here’s the happiness rub: the sub-conscious mind knows no limits and does whatever the conscious mind tells it to do…the conscious mind is built upon perceptions of reality, so-called facts, that are usually built upon negative mental constructs.
“Our vastly more developed brain is fertile ground for a harvest of suffering. Only we humans worry about the future, regret the past, and blame ourselves for the present. We get frustrated when we can’t have what we want, and disappointed when what we like ends. We suffer that we suffer. We get upset about being in pain, angry, about dying, sad about waking up sad yet another day. This kind of suffering – which encompasses most of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction – is constructed by the brain, It is made up. Which is ironic, poignant – and supremely hopeful. For if the brain is the cause of suffering, it can also be its cure.” Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson, PH.D.

Science, specifically the study of the plasticity of the brain, is showing how the flow of thoughts sculpts the brain. This breakthrough, coupled with the study of esoterica and contemplative practices like meditation, means that anyone can use their mind to shape their brains in order to realize greater happiness, love and wisdom. Not to mention freedom from the disempowering memes that wreck havoc on our emotional body.
Conscious mental events are the result of a temporary coalition of synapses that form and un-form, in seconds,. Neurons can also make lasting circuits, which get strengthened each time
a connection is made. For example, some event happens to a child which makes the child believe he or she is unloveable. Going forward, any event which recreates that initial emotion in the child/adult, serves to “prove” the truth of the initial response. Each time that emotion is unleashed, the strength of the emotion is reinforced until that is all he or she believes to be true. “See, this just proves how unloveable I really am.”
The thought the mind creates becomes a self-fulling prophecy because the sub-conscious mind brings to fruition that which the conscious mind believes.

This might seem to be an impossible loop to change. The concept of brain plasticity means that the adult brain remains open to change as long as we live.
The brain regulates the flow of energy and data. If we focus on how we intentionally direct this flow through our neural circuits, we can directly alter the brain’s activity and it’s structure.

Science has also shown that when compassion and mindful awareness is in our lives we can harness the social circuits of the brain to enable the transformation of our relationship with our own self.
That means we can intentionally create positive change in ourselves, in our lives.

As miraculous as the mind is, the conscious mind can only hold one thought at a time. If you are counting backwards from one hundred and I ask you to spell your mother’s maiden name, something is going to have to give! If you are blissful about something in this moment and a sad bit of news comes to you, you will not be able to be both happy and depressed.
Step one in the art of happiness is to have a thought or a memory that is guaranteed to create a smile. Step two is the practice of becoming happy. When a sad, angry, fearful thought comes to mind, replace it with the “happy” thought. You can’t hold both thoughts. Impossible. Step three is the ‘taking responsibility for your thoughts’ part of the process. You have a choice every time you think a negative thought: continue to wallow in it or replace it with something positive.

Try this for thirty-days. It’s called “The Mental Diet” and you can find out about it in U. S. Anderson’s book, Three Magic Words.
Many people who are working on this aspect of their lives use an affirmation, a prayer, a simple word they can repeat easily no matter where they find themselves, or short blessing to replace the disempowering thoughts when they come into mind. You can work with a coach or mentor, someone who teaches meditation. Meditation doesn’t need to represent some Eastern philosophy, but can be viewed as a practice for calming the mind and letting happiness come in.
“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” Dale Carnegie

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