Science of Happiness:
Since sustaining a back injury earlier this year, I have undertaken a number academic and artistic pursuits so that I continue to feel like I am growing and learning even if I am not practicing asana the same way I was before.
The Science of Happiness course has been part of my journey towards healing my body, mind and heart and has given me valuable insight into my sense of Self in the face of chronic pain and limited mobility.
I have not always been comfortable with the emotions that have arisen on this journey. From time to time I have grieved the loss of what was. I have also gone down the path of self-blame and I have experienced sadness. In the Science Happiness course, I have learned a lot about compassion which has helped me be loving with myself and more patient with my healing journey.
“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.” ~ Rumi
So what is compassion? The roots of the word mean to “suffer together”. It is the feeling that arises when you witness another’s suffering and feel motivated to help them relieve that suffering.
Compassion is a sophisticated part of our human nature that is rooted in our brains and biology. Being compassionate causes chemical reactions in our bodies that motivate us to be even more compassionate. It allows us to overcome our selfish concerns and motivates us to be more altruistic.
The main benefit of cultivating compassion is that it helps us to be more happy, and helps those around us to be more happy. Compassion is one of the main tools we have for achieving happiness.
There are simple daily mindfulness practices that can help you cultivate compassion.
Each morning, set an intention to be compassionate with yourself and others. As you move through your day, bring compassion to your interactions with others. At the end of your day, pause to note the ways in which cultivating compassion enriched your day.
To me, cultivating compassion feels like the best gift I can give and receive this holiday season.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
~ Dalai Lama