Are we in the throws of trying to keep our ‘New Years Resolution’ once more? Or are we a bit late deciding on whether to actually bother or not?
Sometimes our resolutions are quite meaningful e.g. we need a new job to provide for our family, or we need to take medical advice on-board, but often they are masquerading under a false identity.
If we looked at a list of all the things we have ever made resolutions about we would see that the underlying assumption we have made is that this course of action would make us happy…this will be the ‘New Me’ we often decide, a new, better, happier me than we were the year(s) before.
Hence we spend our lives with the same or different resolutions year after year and come December 31st we think (once again) ‘Next year will be better’. But will it?
We all like to think we are in control of our lives but it takes only one second in time for our lives to be turned upside down and torn painfully apart.
We see tragedy everyday of our lives: floods, earthquakes, fires, traffic accidents, illness, injury and death, and think it won’t happen to us. In fact we avoid dwelling on these daunting possibilities because we cannot bear to think how we would face them, so it’s easier to assume they won’t happen to us. We continue to plan for the ‘new me’, the ‘better me’. But these plans and resolutions do not give us any skills or safety net to cope with the unimaginable. Why is this?
We feel that external situations control our happiness or suffering, yet at times we see people coping with horrendous situations and remaining relatively calm and peaceful, or others with excellent external circumstances who are anxious, depressed or suicidal. This shows us that external situations in themselves are not a true source of happiness, we need to be happy and peaceful internally, in our mind, to be able to enjoy good conditions or cope with difficulty. If you stop to think about it, we feel happiness inside , not outside ourselves, it is a state of mind internally, not something we can gather externally. This state of mind, this inner peace not only gives rise to a natural source of happiness but also ‘shores up’ our defences for any forthcoming storms that may occur in our daily life.
This Inner Peace comes from meditation. Nothing fancy or complex; simple meditation starts with focus on one’s own breath. It is very easy to start yet the benefits are enormous. This small oasis of peace in your day also becomes a place of refuge when times are tough, a place to go to relieve our mind from the stress, pain or anxiety we suffer in our daily lives. It is the best method for stress relief, you can do it anywhere and it costs nothing.
This is the one New Year’s Resolution that really can change your life and give you the ‘New Happier Me’ that you have spent your life searching for.
You can begin to meditate very simply in three easy steps, a mere 5-10 minutes regularly (daily if possible) makes a real difference, results are often noticed in just a couple of weeks.
- Find a small space in your day. A regular time works best but it may be that as daily routines vary so will your timing.
- Find a relatively quiet place.
- Sit down in your quiet place. You can sit on a cushion or a chair, keep your back relaxed but fairly upright, both feet flat on the floor, hands relaxed on your knees, and eyes gently closed. Spend a couple of minutes imagining the physical tension easing out of your body, so you feel relaxed and comfortable. Focus on the breath as it enters and leaves at the tip of your nose, noticing the sensation of the cool in breath and the warmer out breath. Simply follow your regular breathing pattern, no need to change it in any way. Don’t worry when distractions arise in your mind, just gently let go of them, without interaction or judgement, and return your attention to your breath once again. Gradually your mind will become slightly quieter and more peaceful. Relax in this peaceful state for as long as you wish. However slight, this feeling of peace will improve and increase with practice.
Just these few minutes can make a big difference and if you want to take your practice further you can read either of these books: