It may sound corny, but the research clearly demonstrates that you would be happier if you cultivated an “attitude of gratitude.” Gratitude helps us thwart hedonic adaptation. Hedonic adaptation is illustrated by our remarkable capacity rapidly to adjust to any new circumstance or event. This is extremely adaptive when the new event is unpleasant, but not when a new event is positive. So, when you gain something good in your life – a romantic partner, a genial officemate, recovery from illness, a brand-new car – there is an immediate boost in happiness and contentment. Unfortunately, because of hedonic adaptation, that boost is usually short-lived. As I’ve argued, adaptation to all things positive is essentially the enemy of happiness, and one of the keys to becoming happier lies in combating its effects, which gratitude does quite nicely. By preventing people from taking the good things in their lives for granted – from adapting to their positive life circumstances – the practice of gratitude can directly counteract the effects of hedonic adaptation.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness
Meditation is a special kind of dance in which we commit our-selves wholeheartedly to the practice of deconstructing the materialistic view of reality. The challenge is simultaneously to hold on and to let go; it is to see clearly what we are doing and at the same time see through it.
Stand still, and allow the strange, deadly restlessness of our tragic age to fall away like the worn-out, dusty cloak that it is – a cloak that was once considered beautiful. The restlessness was considered the magic carpet of tomorrow, but now in reality we see it for what it is: a running away from oneself, a turning from that journey inward that all must undertake to meet God dwelling within the depths of their souls.
Stand still, and look deep into the motivations of life.
Catherine de Hueck Doherty
Stillness, a sense of the unchanging, is all around, and at different levels. Look for it, explore its effects on you, and let it sink in. For example…. there is the moment at the very top of a tossed ball’s trajectory when it’s neither rising nor falling, the pause before the first stroke of the brush, that space between exhalation and inhalation, the silence in which sounds occur, or the discernible gap between thoughts when your mind is quiet.
In your mind there is always an underlying calm and well-being that contains emotional reactions, like a riverbed that is still even as the flood rushes over it (if you’re not aware of this, truly, with practice you can find and stabilize a sense of it). There is also the unchanging field of awareness, itself never altered by the thoughts passing through it…Give yourself the space, the permission, to be still – at least in your mind – amidst those who are busy. To use a traditional saying: “May that which is still, be that in which your mind delights”.
We are dust and to dust return.
In the end we’re
neither air, nor fire, nor water,
neither more nor less, just dirt,
some yellow flowers.
Pablo Neruda, Ode to Some Yellow Flowers
Wisdom emerges in the space around words
as much as from language itself.