(For the Next 60 Seconds)
Can you remember the last time you felt really happy? The last time you felt joy?
The last time you laughed? and I mean really hard, belly guffaw haw haw haw laugh?
Remember how it just seemed to bubble out of you? Remember the warmth of that good feeling, spreading from deep in your center to the tips of your fingers and tips of your toes. How it electrified the hairs on the back of your neck and tickled the best parts of you into feeling like everything was just great, just as it is, just for that moment.
Be there for 60 seconds.
This is the premise for a book I am writing.
What would happen in our lives if we decided to dedicate a small portion of the day, each day, to feeling the best we could possibly feel for 60 seconds?
On the one hand it is one of the laziest ways to dip a toe into the deep waters of what reality is, what our thoughts are and by extension what we are. Whether or not we are our thoughts (sneaky suspicion we are not) whether or not our thoughts can inform our waking lives. Whether or not we have any say in what our lives really are at all. All by just diving deep into the best feeling you can find for yourself for 60 seconds. No breaks. Ugh.
On the other hand, I would argue the better hand in this situation, not that there is anything wrong with the “lazy” perspective but, showing yourself, your mind, your body, your existence that “for 60 seconds, I am going to be feeling this now” is a huge step in mastery of the self. In being able to remain conscious of your self and your inner state and shaping it, regardless of the exterior circumstances. To simply but powerfully make your mind work for you. Instead of you running around all day trying to appease your mind and all its wild whims. “screw that driver.” “I want french fries. The really long ones. Freshly deep fried. Fresh!” “One more youtube video/tiktok/instagram story” “one more cookie.” “One more craving satiation.” “One more time appeasing ‘me’ .”
Not that we all haven’t been there, and don’t continually come up against these and many more arguments the mind makes to us so that we acquiesce and fall back into the reclining chair of comfort and complacency. In principle there is everything right with enjoying comfort. However, if it has become the primary driver in life then it no longer is a choice of relaxation and acknowledgement of what wonderfulness surrounds us, but a compulsive evasion of any kind of discomfort or pain. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t seem like a lot of fun to me.
To be able to direct your attention for 60 seconds to a thought that elicits a feeling you want to feel, and in so doing are feeling the feeling you want to feel, you accomplish a goal. A goal that is very personal to you, because who else could define your kind of happiness better than you? It’s also a goal that once achieved gives immediate feedback, the best kind of feeling you can feel. Not a bad trade off.
Back to the whole mastery thing. What are the implications of being able to at your whim, calling up a specific thought that you engage with in as many facets as possible? Seeing the colors and shapes, smelling the smells, feeling the feels etc. What kind of impact would repeatedly visiting in our minds that which elicits joy have for us and our lives? For 60 seconds you might have the body respond to the happy thought engagement with an uptick in happy chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and others. The heart might relax and blood pressure decrease. The breathing would deepen, spreading more oxygen throughout the body. You’d feel happy, deliberately, for 60 seconds. What would that do?
What would it do after a Week? A month? A year?
Is this not the beginnings of what some of our modern master minds, mystics and magicians stated to be the bedrock of a better, more aware life?
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell
“Above all, it is imperative to extirpate the idea that any fantastic, mysterious practices are required for the attainment of higher knowledge. It must be clearly realized that a start has to be made with the thoughts and feelings with which we continually live, and that these feelings and thoughts must merely be given a new direction. Everyone must say to himself: “In my own world of thought and feeling the deepest mysteries lie hidden, only hitherto I have been unable to perceive them.”
― Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds
“To be empowered—to be free, to be unlimited, to be creative, to be genius, to be divine—that is who you are…. Once you feel this way, memorize this feeling; remember this feeling. This is who you really are….”
― Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One
The 60 second Happy Thought Practice:
-Find a thought that fills you with joy, good feeling, warmth, laughter and deep, wide smiles.
-Set a timer for 60 seconds.
-Devote all of your attention to this thought for the designated 60 seconds. Indulge in all aspects of the thought that elicit and amplify this joy.
(An easy *mental maneuver* see your thought playing out in your mind. Draw a border around it. Grab the border. Stretch and enlarge it with your imagination. This tends to have an amplifying effect on the corresponding emotion associated with the thought.)
-Go about your day.
-Rinse and repeat.
-Keep a journal and record your daily application as well as notable events, thoughts, experiences you have. After 30 days look back and see your progression.
There are so many things we could think about at any given moment. My training as an actor introduced me to using thought as a way to inform action on stage. Why not do it in life?
“All we are is the result of what we have thought”-Buddha.
So how about that.