This month I wanted to talk about how to avoid falling into the common mind traps that come with the festive period. December is an interesting time of the year. Open a newspaper, magazine, turn on a television or even talk to a friend and we can find ourselves being encouraged to spend money on stuff we don't necessarily want, be socially busy, attend parties, drink and eat (more than we need!) and 'be merry'. In a subtle way, we can put ourself under pressure to be jolly and have a great time.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no scrooge and it can be a great excuse to spend quality time with the people we care about the most. However, I'm also aware that the media and societal norms around this time of year can also cause people to put themselves under pressure to have a good time and for some, lead to feelings of loneliness or lack.
We are taught that we need to DO things to BE happy. However, this is not necessarily the case. The reality is true happiness, love and peace are uncaused and unconditional. Or said slightly differently, they happen for no specific reason. This is because these states of being are not the result of any 'doing' on your part. Instead, they are natural states you experience when you are present and consciously aware of the inner presence of your being.
This is why I love meditation. By meditating regularly you can stop trying so hard, stop forcing yourself to feel good, stop needing to control life as much and stop over-thinking about the past and future. Instead, you can discover yourself spontaneously and for no reason being happy, loving life and enjoying inner peace - right now.
To encourage these beautiful inner states of being to be more evidently present in your life, I recommend playing with the power of praise. By praise I'm not referring to anything religious, but instead, simple appreciation. This month, look for places within yourself, others and life that you can praise and be grateful for. The reason praise is so powerful is that you don't need your external circumstances to change for you to improve your inner sense of well-being.
If you find yourself being critical, judgemental or feeling down, then take a moment to consider how you can praise whatever you are perceiving negatively. If you play with this simple game, then you will find, like magic, the way you feel towards the things you had a problem with magically changes for the better. Due to the fact that you feel what you focus on, you will find yourself in a much more positive and abundant state of being. Happiness and love will occur naturally and you will experience the priceless gifts that the present moment has to offer.
LOOKING FOR A CHRISTMAS OR NEW YEAR PRESENT FOR YOURSELF OR A LOVED ONE? Check out my Mind Calm Book and/or Meditations CD