This meditation technique is based on one first introduced to us by our current yoga teacher, Neil Patel of Chi Kri Yoga . It is very empowering, as it makes us aware of the subtle point that the ability to be happy arises not from anything outside, but from within us.
If we ask a number of people the question, “What makes you happy?”, chances are that we will get a variety of answers, such as “Going on holiday”, “Being with my family”, “Praise from my boss”, “Chocolate”, etc. We become happy when certain conditions are met, but the conditions themselves do not intrinsically contain “happiness”. For example, giving the latest iPhone to our younger daughter will make her happy, but giving the same iPhone to my mother may just result in a puzzled look from her. Therefore the iPhone does not contain happiness that is transferred to the recipient – it just acts as a trigger in some people (like our daughter) to release happiness from within her because it meets some conditions and helps to fulfil a certain need.
- Sit in a comfortable meditation posture with your eyes closed.
- Identify a time and place when you felt really happy. It could be anywhere and at any time, just recently or a long time ago. You may have been with others or by yourself. It doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is that you felt really happy to be alive.
- Recreate that scene in your mind’s eye. Bring back as many of the details as you can: the sights, colours, sounds, smells, people, surroundings, tastes, etc. This may take a little while, there’s no rush, take your time.
- Home in on how you are feeling back in this place. Recreate that feeling of happiness and joy that you had back then.
- Stay with that feeling but slowly start to release the stimuli: let the smells, tastes, sounds, people, background, etc slowly fade away one by one – but keep the feeling of happiness with you. You may find yourself smiling softly at this pointJ
- After you have let go of all aspects of that particular memory, stay for a while in that feeling of pure peace, contentment and joy.
- Slowly bring yourself out of the meditation when you are ready and note that the ability to feel happy came from within you; the circumstances that brought this about in you just acted as a trigger.
Note of Caution
While you can use this technique to invoke that feeling of happiness within you, be careful not to pine for that memory. In other words, do not crave for those conditions to be recreated outside of your mind, as this could bring about the opposite effect and make you sad.