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Salad Bar For Happiness

Discussion in 'Mind, Body & Spirit' started by Michael David, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Michael David

    Michael David Member

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    If you draw a circle and then erase about one quarter of the circle when you show that image to someone their mind will automatically fill in the missing part of the circle. Our brains are wired to note what is missing or wanted and to seek it out. That is the main reason why happiness is elusive. Our brains are looking for what is missing rather than being content with what is already there.

    Most of the time we are focused on what we do not want, on what is lacking or what is not right. We focus on the hole rather than the delicious donut. But if we are continually focused on what we feel needs to be better we are rarely satisfied or happy with what we already have.

    “Greek salad no onions, hot tea with lemon and plain rolls with butter.” Both the waiters and I know that this is most likely my routine lunch. The interesting thing is that the salad is always different. Some days there are more or less tomatoes or the peppers are whole or chopped or the olives are too soft or they are not there at all. It is not always the way I prefer.

    The first suggestion is to focus on what is there not on what is missing. Not how is this salad today and what does it need to turn it into the fantasy salad of perfection but what is this salad today. If the salad is a bit dry and I focus on the dryness rather than on the remainder of the salad I am missing the enjoyment that can be there with each bite. Sure I could ask for more dressing and then for different tomatoes and then different olives etc. building the perfect salad but why not just shift to what is right.

    It’s fine to hold the intention of a perfect salad but not the striving for one.

    Shift to focus on what is okay rather than what is not okay. Try this in each moment.

    Imagine being at a salad bar (meeting, party, movie, golf course, traffic jam etc). You have a number of choices for building your own salad. You have your preferences and you can choose from what is available that meets your preferences. You cannot choose what is not there. When you review your choices and select what you prefer from what is available in each moment, you start to live the life that you want. You may need to momentarily let go of the fantasy reality that is not currently available but you will be much happier in the mean time.

    At times during the day our mood may shift from neutral to positive which we usually enjoy. If we shift to negative we start to feel stress and we would prefer to get back to neutral or positive. The sequence is usually from negative to positive and then back to neutral. Like a diminishing sine wave that settles back to a nice even neutral position. Actually a positive mood although it is sought after is actually a shift away from the homeostasis of the body mind. Rest in neutral enjoy the positive when it comes up and use a selection of preferences from what is actually available to rise up from negative moods.

    Experiment with this:

    Over the next four hours look for moments when you realize or become aware that you are not happy. See if you are focused on what you perceive is lacking and the sense that if that missing item were there you would be happy. Immediately drop the wanting of the missing item that you brain has filled in and find something to be happy about and satisfied with. Find something that is right with the salad rather than what is wrong. Of all the choices available which one do you prefer and then decide to choose that one. Start living by choosing your preferences rather than what is lacking or unavailable. When you choose the yummy donut rather than the hole you end up with something rather than nothing.

    Michael:)
     
  2. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Nice thread.

    Another context for the exercise could also be to suspend the right-wrong assessment and convert it to an assessment of a place on a spectrum. To illustrate, using your wet-dry salad analogy, just make an observation of its "wetness" on the scale of no dressing to swimming in dressing.

    You could logically say after you identify where it sits on the wet-dry spectrum where your taste preference is. This practice points you in the direction of not tipping a cup of emotion on assessments like is it good or bad or right or wrong and helps (in my experience) to bring you back to just what is.

    Well done.

    olmate
     
  3. Michael David

    Michael David Member

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    Hi Olmate

    I applaude your splendid observation and excellent sequel to this exercise.

    Focusing attention on the spectrum of where this particular thought, activity, sensation, wanting or averting lies has the immediate effect of bringing me back to "just what is." A really wonderful exercise that has arisen numerous times since I read your post.

    For me it seems to shift the thought, activity, sensation, wanting or averting to being the object and I return to being the observer or witness of this particular object along with the awareness of it being okay, this is "just what is."

    By dropping the good or bad of it we return closer to the now of what is and the natural happiness of just resting in awareness.

    Michael:)
     
  4. Mr Monkey

    Mr Monkey Member

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    Nice post, thanks :).

    Sometimes I wish I had a Matrix style seat so I could just plug in and download all the good, useful and insightful stuff on this website :p.
     

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