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Week 6 - Savoring Happiness

Let’s begin with a mindful centering practice. Wherever you just came from or whatever you were just doing before this moment, let’s fully settle into this space now.

First, notice your body posture at this moment and begin to make adjustments to sit in an upright position that will allow you to pay attention fully in the next few moments.

You can let go of anything you may be holding onto - worries, stress, concerns. Bring your feet flat on the floor, back straight but not stiff, shoulders relaxed, facial muscles relaxed, and hands resting comfortably on your thighs or in your lap. Let your eyes gently close.

(pause)

Often it happens that our body is here but our mind is wandering somewhere else. The intention of mindful centering is to bring our mind back to the body and to the present moment.

To do that, let’s take a few deep breaths as an invitation for the mind and body to come together. Experience a deep breath through your nose, and let the breath come out through your mouth. Make the exhalation slow and long. Let’s do this two or three more times. Watch the body relax as you exhale slow and long.

(pause)

Now let your breath move at its own relaxed pace and just pay attention to the flow of the breath in and out. Notice the sensations of breathing for a few moments.

(short pause)

As you do this you may notice that your mind starts to wander. You may start thinking about other things. If this happens, it’s not a problem, but is instead quite natural. Just notice what took your attention away without any judgement. Then simply let it go and redirect your attention back to the breathing.

(short pause)

Now, let’s explore what is happening in our body and mind.

First, bring your attention to your physical body and see what sensations you can notice.

(short pause)

Now, bring your attention to your mind and see what thoughts are there. When you notice a thought, just label it as “thinking”.

(short pause)

Now, begin to notice any emotions in the body. When you notice any emotional sensations, just label them as “feeling”.

Remember that the purpose is not to make any judgements about what or how much can you notice. The purpose is simply to notice what is happening inside of us.

(short pause)

For most of us, our lives are so busy that we don’t have the time to savor the richness and value of daily pleasant moments. We may notice the larger things, like when something really great happens. However, very few of us pause and appreciate the small pleasant moments in our life.

To find more balance, in today’s practice, we’ll focus on savoring pleasant situations with full awareness and appreciation.

(short pause)

Begin by bringing to mind something pleasant that happened today or yesterday.

It can be something very small, such as feeling a warm breeze on your skin, smiling at a friend, enjoying a tasty meal, receiving a nice text, a feeling of happiness. Anything small that has happened in the last two days and which was positive for you will work. Just pick one small situation that you can focus on fully.

(short pause)

Now visualize the situation in your mind’s eye as clearly as possible.

Recreate the situation in your mind as if it were happening right now with as much detail as possible. In particular, try to remember the sensory details and emotional tones.  Zero your attention in on the feelings and sensations associated with this pleasant moment.

(short pause)

Notice where in your body you can feel the sensations the most.

Notice how they change and move.

They may start fading when your mind starts to wander.

Bring yourself back to savoring this small moment of happiness.

(short pause)

Now, bring to mind a different small moment of happiness.

Again, it can be very small like feeling the sun on your skin, hanging out with a friend or family member, or doing any activity that you enjoy.

Again ecall the situation and sensations associated with it as clearly as you can.

(short pause)

Give yourself the permission to savor this moment fully.

Notice where in your body you can feel the sensations the most.

Notice how they change and move.

They may start fading when your mind starts to wander.

Bring yourself back to savoring this small moment of happiness.

(short pause)

Now, let’s return to your breath and anchor your attention there again.

For a few moment, let your awareness turn to the rising and falling of each breath.

Let your mind rest and enjoy the natural cycle of your breath.

(pause)

To close our practice, let’s bring to mind a sense of gratitude. Take a moment to appreciate all the small moments of happiness that are already present in your life. However small these moments are, we can cultivate a fuller awareness and appreciation of them. In your daily life, begin to notice these small moments of happiness as they occur. Try to pause, feel them fully, and savor them.

(pause)

Now, slowly begin to bring some movement into your fingers and toes, bring some movement into the whole body, stretching gently, and then allow the eyes to open when you’re ready. Take your time.

 

Week 6 - Savoring Happiness
Collection The Art and Science of Human Flourishing - Fall 2017
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)