THE KEY TO DEVELOPING A HEALTHY MIND IS TO TRAIN IT SO WELL THAT YOU CAN CALL IT ON DEMAND.
There are almost as many definitions of happiness as there are people who seek it, and countless theories about how to be happy. In Part One of this book, I stated my own definition of happiness as a particular state of consciousness or state of mind. I also greatly appreciate the wisdom of Matthieu Ricard, the French monk whom the media calls “the happiest person in the world.” He defines happiness as a deep sense of flourishing that arises from an “exceptionally healthy mind.”
This exceptionally healthy mind is an extraordinarily capable mind that is profoundly peaceful, compassionate, and happy. This kind of healthy mind is not reserved for monks in the caves of the Himalayas, or for those supposedly born with happy genes. It is available to everyone, including you and me.
This First Principle is fundamental to your transformation and as such, it provides the basic structure for the entire Seven Principles Program. It will show you how your mind works and functions and will teach you how to train it and take care of it. As you apply it with practice and discipline, you will be able to transform your mind and the quality of your life. If you are like most of us, you are probably used to looking to the outside world to understand your feelings. If you are happy, sad, focused, or unfocused, you tend to blame or praise something out there, something external.
The problem with this way of understanding your feelings is that it makes you a passive recipient—life just “happens to you.” By relating to the outside world in this way you relinquish control, become a victim of your circumstances and other people, and make a sustainable peaceful state of mind impossible.
Of course, outside events can and will influence every aspect of your being. But how you deal with these events is directly related to your state of mind. A healthy mind will have a more wholesome, more creative, kinder response to any given external situation than a foggy, obscure, congested mind. A healthy mind does not negate the events that send you spiraling into sadness or fear. On the contrary, a healthy mind is fully present with what is happening to you, internally and externally. It is fully present with your sadness or fear, an, and fully aware of the depth of your emotions. It is that heightened state of clarity that gives you the freedom to consciously choose whether to resist, blame, or hold onto the emotion you are experiencing. This can only be so because a healthy mind is connected with the reservoir of acceptance, love, and peace that is your intrinsic nature, your Self.
And you don’t need to be a monk in saffron robes, or a nun or saint. You can even be a politician and understand that your heart can be in peace even in the worse of adversity. President Barack Obama understood this very well when he visited the graves of children massacred in a mass shooting and said, “Our hearts are broken by their sudden passing. Our hearts are broken and yet our hearts also have reasons for fullness.”
The key to developing a healthy mind is to train it so well that it becomes available at all times. Train it so well that it can be called up on demand not only when the world is friendly to you but also when it seems to be conspiring against you.
Getting to Know Your Mind Before you start to train your mind, let’s look inward at it. Let’s see what the mind looks like and what it does all day long. Let’s shine a light inward to see what we find there right now. Let’s do it together.
Excerpt from book: Happiness No Matter What!