Deepak Chopra, M.D., author and pioneer in the field of mind body medicine, quotes a study of risk factors for heart disease done by the Massachusetts Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Surprisingly, the #1 risk factor was job dissatisfaction, and #2 was a low sense of personal happiness.
Many years ago, both of these risks were very much a part of my life. The year was 1974. I was 26 years old, and my wife of three years had died a sudden tragic death. And at the time, I was employed in a career that brought me little satisfaction.
How to grow happiness
Fortunately, things turned around. One evening, a month after my wife’s passing, I went with a friend to a lecture that introduced us to the nature and benefits of meditation. It sounded promising and I realized that I had little to lose so both my friend and I enrolled in the course.
We attended a 1.5 hour meeting on four consecutive days. It didn’t take long for the effects of meditation to show up. Just a few hours after my first meditation experience, I found myself spontaneously skipping through a restaurant on the way to the cash register after eating! I felt exhilarated and didn’t know why.
What was happening? This unexpected feeling of euphoria wasn’t preceded by any accomplishment or achievement. And I wasn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Sometime later I learned that these experiences are not uncommon when people begin to add meditation to their daily lives. Now not everyone experiences such exhilaration after one meditation; most however begin to soon notice moments when they are happy for no apparent reason. They are just happy with life.
The ancient cultures from where Effortless Meditation™ comes explain that the nature of life is bliss. Life is not meant to be filled with chronic stress and unhappiness. And yet today, many are so overwhelmed trying to accomplish everything on their “To Do” lists that they’ve lost the ability to enjoy life. To the rescue comes pharmaceutical companies who make billions annually on medications for anxiety and depression.
The good news is that we have the power within to find lasting happiness. The remedy: Tap into the reservoir of happiness and freedom that already exists in your mind with the addition of a simple personal hygiene practice.
This reservoir of well-being isn’t found on the surface, the conscious thinking level of your mind. That’s why most people are not aware of it. It exists at the depths of the mind, the source of your thought.
A short example might help. Do an online search of tsunamis in Southeast Asia, and you’ll find articles about people scuba diving during some of the most horrific storms. They had a splendid day diving and when they surface, they were shocked to see wreckage and chaos. Like that, peace, joy, relaxation and well-being exists deep below the surface of the conscious thinking stress filled mind.
A Key: Subject vs. object referral
With repeated EM practice, we begin to identify more and more with the relaxed freedom and well-being inside us rather than identifying with the turbulence and worries on the surface of our mind. The ancient traditions of knowledge call this as subject vs. object referral. Object referral is said to be at the root of all disease and suffering. We’ve lost ourselves and our inner peace to the world that we see.
If experiencing the bliss and peaceful nature of the inner mind can have me skipping with delight after just one meditation, it can work for anyone. Some new meditators that I have instructed have said after a few days of practice that they were convinced that Effortless Meditation would save their life. For many, however, the initial benefits are more subtle but still obvious – they often realize they are sleeping better, or they’re less anxious, more alert, more patient, and less stressed.
We’ve all found that lasting and real happiness starts inside. The world needs more happiness, so let’s dive in. And if you don’t know how to meditate, or if you feel that you can’t do it, find an experienced teacher that you respect to assist you.