Find a Blissful Moment Every Day
What is bliss? The dictionary has two definitions for bliss. The first is: perfect happiness; great joy. The second is: something providing such happiness.
First of all, happiness starts from within, but a few simple things, done every day, do help. Blissful moments are different for everyone. Here are mine:
1. My morning cup of coffee. The moment I wake up, I look forward to my cup of coffee. Why? It is such a simple thing: hot liquid in a cup. To me, it is so much more. My senses awaken every time I hold a cup of coffee. The cup warms my hands which are always cold (even in the summer). The warm liquid is smooth, creamy and delicious. The smell of fresh brewed coffee reminds me to be thankful for being alive and to cherish these simple moments. I close my eyes and I am in the “now.” I focus on all the happy sensations this one simple beverage does for me. Then all of a sudden, the cobwebs evaporate from my foggy brain and I am able to start my day as a happy, content and grateful human being.
2. Meditation. I must meditate daily. My mind takes me on a turbulent ride and if I don’t sometimes get off, just like in Thelma and Louise, my “car” will drop off a cliff. I keep saying there is something wrong with my brain, but I am told otherwise. Perhaps other people feel the same as I do… it is nice to know that I am not alone. Meditating slows down that ride to a nice Sunday jaunt. I meditate in the morning with the aid of an app downloaded to my tablet. It is time specific and a beautiful ringing bell sounds as the meditation counts down. I close my eyes and my thoughts race, but every time I hear the bells I return to the moment quickly and easily. I have found that meditation has made me feel happier. I am able to handle the stressful moments in my day easier. I also look at people differently because I am not judging them or criticizing them if they take their anger out on me. I just remember that they are having a bad day and try not to take it personally. Meditating calms my mind so that I can let go of external conflicts and put my mind at ease.
3. Driving home from work. This is the time I take to relax and prepare to finish my day on a good note. If you don’t like your commute, find something that you enjoy doing that you can incorporate into your drive or train ride. Listen to the radio and focus on how the songs make you feel. Listen to a motivational CD and focus on improving yourself. If you are taking the train, read a good book, take a nap or make conversation with the person next to you. Everybody has a great life story to tell. If you are constantly stuck in traffic, or the train is late, take those moments to focus on the “now” and enjoy “being.” Don’t focus on the negative. Try turning this moment into something positive: a time to meditate and focus on your breath. Learn to enjoy the moment instead of indulging the negative emotions building up inside of you. Once you arrive at your destination you will no longer feel agitated or angry, but more focused and able to get on with your day in a positive mood. If you are arriving home after work, you will be able to greet your family in a happy mood.
4. Brushing my teeth and washing my face before going to bed. That simple everyday activity is both calming and soothing. As the electric toothbrush whirls, I focus on the positive aspects of my day and let go of the experiences that weren’t so great. I focus on the day’s events that I am grateful for and cherish those moments. When I am done brushing my teeth, my mouth feels fresh and clean. Next I wash my face. The suds erase all the impurities. My face feels tingly and I am left with a clean slate. I am ready to do it all over again the next day.
Your blissful moments could be different from mine. Perhaps when you come home, you get to greet the pet you’ve missed terribly all day. Other blissful moments could include: cooking a great meal, working out, talking to some friends on the phone, or doing yoga to alleviate some stress. Pick your blissful moments and make them count each and every day.
This is what life is about. Simple, blissful moments.
How to Weather an Existential Crisis
There comes a time in the lives of many when there is a pause to reflect on the meaning of life. When this moment of Zen turns out to be especially troubling, puzzling, or even discombobulating, we have a name for it — an existential crisis. The symptoms of an existential crisis range from mild wonderment to turning your world on its head and it can feel much more extreme than a prolonged state of confusion or mental health issue.
There are numerous introductions into the potential rabbit hole of an existential crisis, but all of them usually begin with the question “Why am I here?” or “What is the meaning of life?” If you’re going through this, you aren’t alone.
Philosophers have contemplated the purpose of existence and existential anxiety all the way back through our collective past. Socrates had a prescription: “Know thyself.” The Indian sage Ramana Maharshi suggested asking, “Who am I?”
Why do we humans get caught up in this search for meaning, and why do we fear a meaningless life? Better yet, is there any meaning at all? Some people suggest there is a purpose to life that is bound to a sense of well-being, but the masters of enlightenment have long said that we are looking in the wrong direction — outward instead of inward.
Joseph Campbell taught that it’s better to stop searching for the meaning of life and to begin looking for the meaning in life. In other words, life deals us a certain hand of cards, and we need to find what makes us passionate about them. Campbell summed this up in three immortal words: “Follow your bliss” — and the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Don’t forget to love yourself.”