This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Jeanette Sanchez. Jeanette is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour yoga teacher training program. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” – Pharrell Williams
I was being a good yogi doing my persevering practice of trolling Facebook. What I should have been doing was working on my dissertation, grading papers or even doing yoga. That was when my close friend threw down the gauntlet: 100 Happy Days.
100 Happy Days (http://100happydays.com/) challenges people to be happy for 100 continuous days and to share that happiness by posting photographs of things that make you happy on social media or just with them. They say, “The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.” Of course, this sounds familiar, it sounds like one of the results of meditation and persevering practice which we, yogis, know brings on a state of nirodhah (control of the random fluctuations of the mind).
Yoga is the process of ending the random fluctuations of the mind. Then (once we are in nirodhah) the seer will be established in our own true nature (we can see clearly). Otherwise, what we see is a product of our own conditioning, not what is really there.
Coming into a state of nirodhah means adopting a persevering practice (other yogi’s practices have been highlighted in this blog previously). It can be any practice that is sustained over time. I have experimented in pranayama practices, flossing practices, and making my bed each morning practices all with good results.
Control of the mind’s random fluctuations comes from persevering practice and from non-attachment. The state of nirodhah is stabilized through sustained effort. Moreover, that practice must be done for a long time, and without interruption; with eagerness and sincerity. Then it will become a stable platform from which you can grow.
So nearly three months ago, I accepted the challenge to find 100 things to be happy about 100 days in a row. I have posted them on my Facebook and enjoyed watching my friend post hers. And for a while it was just fun. Lots of pictures of my husband, my pets and my pets and … my pets…
After about a month, I realized how reliant I am on my dog, in particular, to make me smile during the day.
I felt guilty that I wasn’t out there going on hikes and seeing the beautiful days we’ve been having and spending oodles of time with my husband in the sun doing all those wonderful outdoor things people do up here in the Pacific Northwest.
Then I realized that after one month of “being happy,” of working on this challenge, I had spent more than 20 hours in the library working on my dissertation. I’d filled pages and pages of sources in my bibliography. I’d found a way back into my work. And so I persisted in my practice.
I found time to start doing my breathing practices more often. As a result, I slept better. I also found other regular practices that made my life better. Chamomile tea before bed with my husband on our deck as we catch up with each other, walking to work rather than parking as close to the door as I can, and eating different varieties of apples each day. All of these things make my days more fulfilled and as a result, happier.
I will be finished with my persevering practice of 100 Happy Days by the time this blog goes up. I am nearly done with my bibliography, caught up on grading, have a happier husband because I spend time with him and sleep, and the bed is made every day. I will need to find a new practice to fill its gap. It is something I look forward to with happiness.
*The writing of this blog post was accompanied by repeated playings of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (http://youtu.be/y6Sxv-sUYtM), much to the amusement (read: annoyance) of my husband.
**Another great Happy resource is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It is an amazing book. Her practice of giving yourself 15 minutes to work on tasks has dramatically changed my cleaning house lifestyle.
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. A KILLER RETREAT is available for preorder now from Whole Life Yoga. The first book in the series, MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and book sellers everywhere!