Thought is a mental act of the mind where we can address our needs, attachments, goals, commitments, plans, and desires. It is here that we can understand what makes us happy. Thinking is a cognitive function, which enables us to understand, recognize, comprehend and respond to the environment and to each other. Thinking about what makes us happy leads us back in our lives through memory. Memory or experience of what has made us happy in the past can bring visceral good feelings into the present but memory doesn’t generate a present, renewable source of happiness.
Imagining a future of happiness is a mind activity that generates unique situations, images, ideas or activities, that could or are likely to bring happiness. Imagination, is a projection usually of data from past experiences, into the future of what is likely to bring happiness. While thoughts of what could bring happiness can change feelings in the present, they are generally not a full bodied experience of happy and require action to make them so. For example, a person may imagine their perfect partner, perfect job, perfect home or perfect vacation. The happy image is likely a compilation of past experience and fantasy. Of course, to bring that image of happy to life requires a number of steps or changes to align one’s intention with action to create that projection or some form of it into reality. If we are thinking about happiness and projecting it into the future, we might not actually ‘be’ happy in the moment. Sometimes a belief that if only the current conditions or obstacles were removed, such as problems, pain, or suffering then happiness would follow. That belief could have debilitating results because the absence of an obstacle doesn’t automatically create the presence of desired happiness.
Awareness is an aspect of the mind that perceives, observes and reflects on the relationship between oneself and one's environment. Awareness is that part of the mind that learns over time to recognize patterns of behavior and change. Awareness is that part of the mind that can stand outside of itself and witness itself in the present moment. Bring awareness into your life on a regular basis is like an Awareness Selfie, where you observe yourself in the present moment. Taking an Awareness Selfie a few times a day can be very useful in understanding what types of experiences you usually find yourself in throughout the day. Are you usually complaining or criticizing someone or something? Are you usually resistant or down? Or do you feeling in charge of your experience? An Awareness Selfie is the first step in recognizing where your mind usually is. This information can help you to identify what you would like to change in your experience and bringing that change into you life, in the present moment.
Pain, suffering, and complaint are constricting energies. Happiness and love are open energies. You get to choose where your want your focus to be, anytime throughout the day.
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