Meditate Your Way to Happiness

June 17, 2014

by Dan Solin

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This is the fourth in a series of articles about the relationship between success and happiness. You can find the first three here, here and here.

I have an uncle who is 92 years old. He is in excellent physical condition and mentally acute. He plays squash and tennis four times a week. He works every day in his business, producing and distributing educational films. He travels extensively for business and pleasure. His real name is Myron, but he’s never liked it. Everyone calls him “Mike.”

Mike has been meditating for as long as I can remember.

He has a mantra: “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. We are only here for a short time.”

My mantra used to be the opposite: “Hurry. Worry. We don’t have enough time.” Wherever I was, I was thinking about where else I wanted to be.

I run every day. I live in a beautiful gated community in southwest Florida, where I am surrounded by the wonders of nature, including eagles, egrets, blue herons and a variety of other birds. My running route is a picturesque, but until recently I never saw any of it. When I started my run, I was focused on when it would be over. My brain was consumed with all the things I had to do when I returned to my office. I would even take my cell phone with me so I would not miss any calls. I could not enjoy the present because I was too intensely focused on the future.

The concept of “doing nothing” was alien to me. I always had more things to do than time to accomplish all the tasks that awaited me. I can’t remember any time when I was still and reveled in just living moment to moment, appreciating what was happening right now without wishing that I was working on my “to do” list.

Everything changed when I read a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn called Full Catastrophe Living, which led me to meditation. It was an eye-opener for me. I ordered four CDs, narrated by the author, which serve as a guide to meditation and to some simple, non-stressful yoga exercises.

How I meditate

I try to meditate every day. I started with five minutes and worked my way up to 20 minutes. Sometimes, when I use the CDs, I expand my meditation time to 45 minutes. I go into a room and close the door. I make sure I can’t be disturbed by anything, including the telephone or a beeping that indicates new emails have arrived. I put my iPhone in “airplane” mode and set the timer. I set the alert sound to “Harp,” which is a gentle and pleasing reminder that my allotted time for meditation has ended.

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