Encourage Positive Emotional States

Encouraging Positive Emotional States

This morning, like most mornings, I looked at the sky, the clouds, the trees, and my beautiful dog, breathing and smiling, and letting it all in, sipping my coffee, writing in my journal, reading an inspiring book.

It is always interesting to me how we can see beautiful things and not really be there for them, not really be present. But if we take it in more deeply, if we are more present to these beautiful things, then they in turn become present to us.

Doing this is the practice of the third aspect of virya (diligence, energy), following up on the prior two blogs. There are many wonderful things around us, but we often are not there for them. Just by breathing with lovely things that we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, we can learn to linger with them, allowing them to feed and heal our consciousness.

When we do this simple practice, we not only help our consciousness to be more positively toned, but we at the same time make it more difficult for painful states to grab hold. Drinking in lovely things more deeply also counters the negativity bias of our brains—the tendency for us to give more time and attention to what is difficult or negative. Focusing on is also more pleasant than dwelling directly with painful states, though these should not be denied.

Take a little time today to really see the eyes of a child, to hear the wind in the trees or some wonderful music, as we say, to smell the flowers. Now and then write down things that you’ve experienced that make you happy. Bring up the memory of these things during meditation.

This deceptively simple practice is powerfully transformative. Don’t underestimate it!

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