Just back from a 14 day Vedic meditation retreat in Rishikesh, India- a vegetarian and alcohol free city- pretty cool! I don’t know if it was that or the Ganga running right past our hotel with beautiful mountains behind it (and elephants) or the fact that it’s just a energetically charged place (a lot of Masters live and practice in the region) but India had me feeling all kinds of different and amazing.
I had zero expectations going into the trip and had always been told that India and how it worked did not make sense to the Western, logical, rational mind- so that’s just what I did. Zero expectations. And truthfully, it really is like no other place on earth. Different in every way imaginable, crazy but absolutely beautiful and sensical in all its craziness.
After 14 days of twice daily meditation, asanas (yoga poses) and pranayama (breathing exercises), excursions to various ashrams and holy sites and daily lectures by our teacher Thom Knowles (rockstar!), it’s safe to say I was on cloud nine, seeing the world, how it operates and how I do in it, clear as day.
I began to understand and live that age old saying- happiness can only be found within. And realized, once you have that, your golden. No longer do you have to go outside of yourself in search of external things because contentment is right there- inside of you. Game changer.
The other thing that struck me was the happiness of the locals. I saw many kids playing in the streets with rocks and sticks, barefoot and running about with not a care in the world while wild pigs, horses, cows, monkeys and dogs roamed nearby. Everyone happy. Everyone doing their thing. Happiness seemed simple in India… and a lot more complicated back in New York.
I realized that I was resting a lot of my personal happiness on exterior circumstances- when so and so happens I will be happy, if my company makes x amount this year, I will be happy and so on and so forth. Always looking to the future for happiness which is pointless because once I achieve those things I will add on a bunch more and so you never quite reach “happiness”.
India taught me I can have it all right now and that cultivating happiness comes from within. Cheesy as it sounds- it’s true! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to stop my shopping sprees at Zara that bring me so much joy (even if it is temporary), but I am going to focus a lot more on my meditation and mindfulness practice and basically just slowing the fuck down. So… my top three steps for cultivating happiness within- One, twice daily meditation (20 minutes each). Transcend. Tap into absolute consciousness and pop back up into the real world from there- more relaxed, clear and simply- happier. Two, releasing control, because anytime you are trying to control something you are contracting and going against the flow. And Three, following my charm, wherever it takes me. This charms me, I move to that. This charms me, I move over there. As much as possible always in the space of following charm and not “doing” or “having to do” (which is hard for a Capricorn like me 😜). I will let you know how this new way of BEING goes for me!