A depressed person can look at a smiling face and see a snarl. A person in love
can see beauty where others see ugliness. Obviously, a person’s emotions affect
their perceptions. Many people are spontaneously beset with fears, worries and self-
doubts throughout their life, but how do you control the display of these kinds of
emotional episodes? Sometimes people are even confused in their minds as to what
emotion they really do want at the moment or even knowing the difference between
one emotion and another or even knowing they have the conscious power to choose a
particular emotion! Consequently they mix up lust and love, pleasure and happiness
or fear and courage. So before attempting this exercise, master “Exercise --
Identifying Your Emotional States.”
As an exercise in creating happiness, let us first define happiness. Although some
people refer to happiness as relating to a single or a series of pleasurable sensations,
let’s broaden the definition somewhat. Let’s relate it to a feeling of well-being,
peace, comfort, prosperity, contentment, satisfaction, fulfillment, enjoyment and
seeing beauty around you. When you feel happiness in this way, you look at
everyone else as beautiful, complete beings, regardless of how they look at
themselves or the rest of the world.
To extend the definition of courage beyond a simple bravado to disguise your fear,
look at courage as an emotion where you are facing danger and difficulties with
firmness, resolution and a determination to achieve your aim. See courage as a
persistence and tenacity which keeps you going in the face of opposition, regardless
of what others might say about you. True courage is akin to faith. By embracing and
tempering your fear, you remain undaunted and unwilling to acknowledge defeat.
To understand pure agape love, you must go far beyond lust and apprehend the
emotion of love in an unconditional way, without the thought of any return of your
love. Love in this way is tender, gentle, kind and non-attached, without strings. It’s
a love towards people that allows them to be who they are.
Compassion is a caring about others with great feeling, pity and sympathy for
their condition or particular predicament in life. A sympathetic desire to help others
less fortunate is elicited because you empathize with their distress or misfortune.
For an exercise in creating happiness, let’s assume a comfortable, relaxed position
(review "Exercise -- Relaxation For Improved Awareness"). Take a few deep,
abdominal breaths with your eyes closed. Relax all parts of your body progressively
from your toes to your head. Use an environment record or tape of a seashore, coun-
try scene or other calming background music and play it while visualizing to yourself
how you would look in a happy scene. Put animals or happy people playing in your
scene. Bring all your senses into play. Smell and taste the air. Feel the warmth of
the sun and the sand or grass under your feet. See and hear colors and moving action
in your happy visualization. Doing this exercise periodically will definitely bring
about relief to your negative thought patterns, and you will create a desire to put more
relaxation into your life as well.
As a variation of the above exercise, first write a list of all the happiest moments in
your past that you can remember. Take your time and go over your whole life in
thorough detail. Write your happiest moments down in one sentence descriptions.
Now pick a few of these moments, and reexperience them again inwardly. What do
you think caused your happiness? Call all your senses into play -- see it, hear it, feel
it, smell it and maybe even taste it. Kinesthetically pantomime the actions involving
it. Smile and laugh to yourself. You'll find that if you had any problems before
starting this exercise, they'll definitely be minimized now. By visualizing a happy
scene in your past just prior to a difficult meeting, you'll be delighted at the difference
it makes in creating a favorable atmosphere.
Now do the same exercises above and substitute happiness for courage, love and
compassion as the emotion you want to practice creating, taking each one in turn. As
a continuance to the above drill in creating your emotions, visualize something that
will well up fear in your mind, then create courage to embrace your fear. Create
anger, then its counterpart - compassion. Create a purely pleasurable episode in your
mind, then create the longer lasting emotion of happiness to allow yourself to
distinguish the difference between the two emotions. Create a lustful event in your
mind, then embrace it with pure, unconditional love and notice the difference.
One way to begin controlling and creating better emotions is by controlling the idle
thoughts and images you begin to replay in your mind throughout the day. In order
to practice the emotions of pure love, compassion, courage and happiness, take a
moment every day and create an image or a series of images that can evoke each
emotion you want to experience. Think first of someone you truly love or have
loved. Hold the image in your mind for a moment, then think of someone you have
or had compassion for, and do the same thing. Then think of a really happy moment
in your life or several happy moments, and experience those images for while.
Finally create an image of a time when you exhibited courage in your life, and hold
that image for a while in your mind. Practice this exercise often to get better at
creating more favorable emotions for yourself.