H H Swami Mukundananda elaborates on the art of being positive every day by harnessing the power of the mind
Most of us can vouch for feeling liberated and happy as soon as Friday rolls around. It brings with it the promise of an exciting and relaxing weekend that entices the mind. Conversely, enthusiasm soon dwindles as Monday approaches with its weeklong pledge of dreary chores, work, and tedious commitments. But why? The answer is simple — people need the external circumstances to be the way they desire and in their control in order to be happy. Else, misery, despair, and frustration take over their mind.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way – we can be happy every day of the week irrespective of the circumstances. When our mind is controlled, it is our best friend, while an uncontrolled mind is our worst enemy. If we wish to always feel happy and positive, we need to harness the power of the mind. We must begin by improving the thoughts we harbour within the mind by learning the art of positive thinking.
Let us next look at effective techniques to always stay happy.
Assert positive thoughts
Positive thinking is the mental habit of harbouring happy thoughts and an optimistic attitude. Positive thinkers are always cheerful and do not seek preconditions to be happy. They are masters in the art of staying elated even when life challenges them with sufficient reasons to make them feel miserable.
One powerful method is to focus your mind on an opposite, positive thought if a negative thought is disturbing you. For example, if thoughts of anger arise in the mind, think of love and patience; the positive thoughts don’t have to be towards the same person or object at whom you are angry. The repeated practice of asserting positive thoughts will foster a positive state of mind.
Though we may not realise it, we have all been bestowed with bountiful graces and blessings from God. The eyes with which we see, the ears with which we hear, the earth we walk upon, the air that we breathe, the food that we eat, and so on, are all gifts from the Universe.
Unfortunately, due to our conditioning, we often highlight insufficiencies and scarcity. By doing so, we subject ourselves to various anxieties, fears, and worries. However, we can reverse that and break out of negative emotions by practicing gratitude. So, let us feel grateful for the countless graces that God has bestowed upon us, and with such positive sentiments, eradicate any sense of deficiency. This attitude on its own can give us a million reasons to be happy.
Take responsibility for your emotions
No matter what the external situation, we are free to choose our emotional response. Understanding this gap between the circumstances and feelings provides us with a lever to control our sentiments. The vast majority of people focus on negative circumstances that are beyond their control. Thus, they fail to take responsibility for what they can change, which is their emotions, beliefs and behaviour. They develop the unproductive habit of playing the blame-game, and so they never feel they have any personal responsibility to improve their moods.
Instead, we can abide by the Bhagavad Gita that educates us to uplift ourselves by the power of our mind, and not to degrade ourselves by it. This ability to exercise our free will for choosing our attitude and emotions is the foundation of our growth. Hence, we must practice controlling our mind by taking the onus of its well-being upon ourselves.
If we search for happiness externally, we will be dependent on someone or something for the same. Instead, if we realise that happiness is an internal resource that lies in our thoughts and beliefs, we can naturally remain happy always. So, happiness is a choice we make. Let us use the techniques discussed today to enhance our happiness quotient in life.
(The author is a yogi, a spiritual teacher, an IIT and IIM alumnus, a bhakti saint, and the founder of JKYog.)