Have you tried using meditation for happiness?
When you meditate you become happy. It really is that simple. It was that simple for me. And it’s been that simple for thousands of students who I have taught meditation to.
If you have ever tried to meditate, did you notice how big an effect it has on your happiness levels? If so I would love to hear about your experience. Leave a comment at the bottom.
And if you have never tried using meditation for happiness, you are in for a treat. In ten minutes the meditations on this page will make you as happy as you have ever been. Big promise, right? Try it. I am fairly confident you will agree with me.
But before we get to that, let’s look at why meditation is so good for your happiness levels.
Why Does Meditation Make You Happy? It Makes Sense When You Understand What Unhappiness Is.
To answer that question, flip it on its head. What makes you unhappy?
Most of the time unhappiness is caused by two things. It’s caused by change. An importantly, it’s caused by changes to things you’ve grown attached to.
Those two things work hand in hand. Change and attachment. They are the causes of unhappiness. People who feel miserable all the time simply need to embrace change and let go of attachment. But it’s sometimes not easy, because letting go can be a challenge and people psychologically fear change.
People fear change. And they especially fear changes to things they’re attached to.
Let’s take a closer look for one second.
Let’s say that you are in a loving relationship. You’re married. It’s been perfect. You can’t imagine ever getting a divorce because you’re so happy. But then your husband or wife cheats on you, which happens far too often and is totally immoral, but I’m digressing. Obviously you’re hurt. But why are you hurt? You’re hurt because something that you have become attached to (your marriage) is being changed (by the infidelity).
Another example? You’re stock broker making millions. Because you like making millions, you become attached to it. You pray it will never end. But then bam, 2008 recession. Stock market isn’t what it was. You end up losing your job. You’re now working at a grocery store. Happy? I don’t think so.
Those are two examples of things that were positive that changed. But have you ever noticed how even when something changes for the better you still feel a little bit sad? Weird huh? But again, something you had grown attached to changed. And the result is unhappiness.
Of course, you’re mostly unhappy something good changes for the worse, but the fact that you’re still a little bit sad when something changes for the better, well, that says a lot, doesn’t it?
Meditation Makes You Happy Because It Helps You Let Go
So, we know that when you are too attached to things you risk becoming unhappy. When you’re too attached to your marriage, for instance, you risk becoming unhappy when things go wrong in the marriage. And also, because you fear change, you become unhappy at the slightest suggestion that something might go wrong. Even the tiniest little hiccup can make you scared and unhappy. And it is all because you are too attached to things.
Meditation helps you to detach. And when you detach you gain control of your emotions.
This is a little what I call blurry. It can be hard to visualise what’s going on here. I mean, we’re not talking about DIY or something tangible, we’re talking emotions.
So let’s take a closer look at why attachment hurts so much.
Again, you’re in a marriage. Because this marriage means so much to you, you try and hold on to the marriage in your own mind. It’s like you are mentally gripping this marriage with your mind. But then something changes. Your husband / wife has an affair. This feels like reality is pulling at your marriage. Your mind is pulling one way. Reality is pulling the other. This is a fight you won’t win. Your mind can’t defeat reality. The more you resist the more strain you’re going to feel in your mind. The more strain your feel in the mind the more pain there will be. And the result is negative emotions and pain. In other words, unhappiness.
The solution is to let go.
Meditation helps you to let go. And when you let go you find happiness.
The tighter you grip onto your ideas the more painful it is when life pulls the other way. That’s why you need to let go.
There are a million and one quotes and platitudes about letting go.
- When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”
- Lao Tzu
- “This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.”
- “In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
But these quotes don’t really explain anything, do they? So what is it all about?
Simple. Just imagine that your mind and reality are two physical forces. Now imagine if your mind is pulling one way and reality is pulling the other? What’s going to happen? Something will break. And it aint gonna be reality.
So Happiness Is Letting Go. But How Do You Let Go?
So here’s the problem where most people struggle. How in the hell do you let go?
I mean, it’s not like we’re talking about holding a physical weight now, is it? If you were holding on to a weight you could just set it down on the table and bingo, problem solved.
But you can’t just let go of mental attachments, can you?
You can’t let go of your ex.
You can’t let go of your old job.
You can’t let go of your past.
You can’t let go of your deceased family members (something I had to learn to do myself).
You can’t let go because you’re not actually holding on to anything.
Pop Quiz: How do you let go of something when you’re not actually holding on to anything
You’re holding on to a weight that exists only in your mind. So how on Earth do you let go of that?
Well, let’s think about it in terms of letting go of something that does have a physical existence.
If you were trying to let go of a weight, what would you do? You would loosen your grip. Gravity would take over. And gravity would bring the weight to the floor so you don’t have to carry it anymore.
So when you let go there are two things involved. There’s your grip and there is reality.
And if you want to let go of something in your mind you also have to let go of your grip and you also have to let gravity take it.
One half of that is a lot easier than the other half. It’s a lot easier to let go of your grip than to let gravity take it, because what on Earth is mental gravity? We’ll deal with that in a sec.
Happiness is letting go. And letting go is meditation. So here’s what happens when you use meditation for happiness.
Let me recap.
We know that unhappiness is caused by holding on too tightly. We know that pain / suffering begins when we hold on to something that is changing, because our minds and reality are pulling in opposite directions. And we know that to be happy we should let go and trust life.
There was also something about gravity…? We’ll get to that.
For now we need to let go of our mental grip.
To let go we meditate. Meditation is entirely about letting go.
So let met show you how to let go by meditating.
How to let go by meditating (happiness step #1)
This meditation is going to take five to ten minutes and I promise you that you will be very glad that you did it.
Just follow these simple steps. (I am assuming that you have at least a little knowledge of meditation. If not, I’ve written a guide to the basics of meditation, so take a look at that first).
Get comfortable in a relaxing space.
Close your eyes and focus your mind on your breathing for a few minutes (use these breathing meditations for the best experience).
Continue to focus on your breath. Naturally thoughts will arise in your mind. The trick here is to simply observe them. Do not fight them. Do not try to repress them. And do not attach to them. Just observe them and let them go when they go. (for more on this read my guide to Vipassana meditation)
Continue observing your thoughts and tell yourself that they are only thoughts. See the true nature of them. See that your thoughts are not real they’re just like little smog clouds that arise in your mind.
This will loosen your grips on your thoughts, which is step one of finding happiness.
So we’ve now started to use meditation for happiness. But what on Earth was that “mental gravity” we were talking about? What’s up with that?
Believe it or not, there is a mental “gravity” and it works in the same way that gravity works.
Gravity works by creating a force to which objects are attracted. Planets create gravity. And because of that we are pull towards the ground.
Your mind is also pulled towards the ground. The ground is reality. Like regular gravity, mental gravity pulls you towards reality. We’re also ways being pulled towards the way things are.
We are mentally pulled towards reality. When you go through bad breakup, for instance, you are pulled towards accepting the breakup. But (and it is a very big but) we have the power to resist gravity.
Just like your muscles can pull a weight against gravity, your mind can pull against reality. And just like with your muscles, if you pull too hard you will suffer, you will be injured, and you will be unhappy.
And that is the entire nature of unhappiness.
Unhappiness = Your Mind Pulling Against Reality
Does it seem funny that your mind works in the same way that your muscles work? Your muscles can simply exist in the state they’re naturally meant to be in. When you just let your muscles do what they’re supposed to do you will be healthy and your muscles will be happy. And when you let your mind exist as it should your mind will be healthy and happy too.
But how do you let your mind simply exist in the state it is supposed to be in?
That’s stage two.
The second step to using meditation for happiness
So far we have used meditation to let go of our grip (by loosening our thoughts). Now we need to let go and let gravity take its course. Essentially, we need to let things exist in the natural order. And this is step two.
Just like you let gravity take over and pull the weight to the floor, you’re about to let reality take over and take any mental weight in your mind. This will free your mind. And it will make you happy. Very happy.
- As before, take yourself somewhere peaceful and relaxing.
- Close your eyes and relax (you will find this Nine Round Breathing Meditation very helpful for this).
- Now you are going to let gravity take over. And the way to do this is by being mindful of your senses. So, begin to focus on each of your senses. Meditate on taste, touch, smell, sound, ad sigh. And then meditate on your own body (by doing body scan meditation)
- Open your eyes and continue to be mindful (to focus on reality). This will let reality (gravity) take over and it will make you very happy.
If you have performed both those meditations you will be feeling very, very relaxed and incredible happy. And if you haven’t actually done the meditations yet, go ahead, do them now. I promise you they will make you feel amazing.
And I would consider it a personal favor if you would let me know how you got on with this. In my dreams I imagine every single person on Earth happy always. If you could leave a message and say that this made you happy, it would make my day. Thank you so much.
And that is how you use meditation for happiness.
- You can also use meditation for positive thinking. Take a look at that link for a great guide.
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