Transcript: Happiness, Being in the Present, Nov 22 2006
The baseline for happiness and learning to appreciate what you have. It's just so important say, 'Yeah, OK, that's our goal; that's what I'm working toward, but right now I'm here and now.'
Happiness and Being in the Present, November 22 2006
Thom said the following on his national show on November 22 2006, the day before Thanksgiving Day. There's something similar in the "Wake Up and Take Pictures" chapter of "The Prophet's Way" and the "Tracking the Prey - Heading for Success" chapter of "ADHD Secrets of Success" (updated version of "Focus Your Energy").
"Food on the table and love in my heart
And a real good woman and a couple of kids and a dog who thinks I'm smart.
I've got a big old mortgage on a little old house and a car that sometimes starts.
But there's food on the table and love in my heart."
You see, that's the baseline, that's really the baseline for happiness and learning to appreciate what you have. I mean, it's so easy to sit around and say, "Oh gee, I wish I was a wealthy millionaire, gee I wish I was", you know, fill in the blank, right? I mean, I've got my list, everybody has their list. The danger is mistaking the means for the end. I mean it is mistaking the journey for the end at the risk of sounding clichéd. It's just so important say, 'Yeah, OK, that's our goal; that's what I'm working toward, but right now I'm here and now.' Here's just my final rant on this, then we'll go to your phone calls.
There are basically two categories of negative emotions that people get caught up in. There's the high shrill kind of negative emotion: anxiety is the word that most commonly is used to describe it. "Oh my God, look out…" And then there are the dark low thick negative emotions: shame and guilt: "Oh, we should never have done that", OK? Now people who spend a lot of time in those two emotional states are doing it because they are not present; they're not right here now. They are not appreciating what is happening around them. They are instead imagining the future and scaring themselves with it - that's the anxiety folks. They're stuck in a nonexistent future. Because the future doesn't exist; all there is is right now. So they're imagining a future and imagining it in a negative way and it's scaring the bejeezus out of them and they're living in that fear.
And then the people who are experiencing the thick dark depressive emotions, you know, setting aside those that have neurologically based depression, I'm talking about just psychological stuff here, the thick dark negative emotions, are remembering the past and living in a past and flogging themselves for things that they did or things that, or flogging somebody else for that matter; blaming somebody. Whatever it may be, they're living in that shame or guilt or anguish or trauma or whatever it may be.
And in both cases the easy way, and I realize this sounds glib but it's not, the easy way to snap out of either one is to simply become present in this moment; to notice what you are seeing right now, just be aware of your visual sense for a moment. Just notice what you're seeing. And then, you know, what are the colors? Look at the depth. And then notice what you're hearing right now. Notice the sounds, the spaces between my words, the sound in the room. And now notice what you're feeling; the sensations in your body and then just be present for a moment with all three and, you know, if you want to add in, you can add in the tastes in your mouth and the smells in the room and your sense of balance and the sense of the passage of time. These are the things that we're sensorially capable of noticing.
And just be present with them. And what happens is you walk people through this exercise who are stuck in either anxiety or depression and very often, very often it just vanishes because you can't experience two emotional states the same time and one state is being present and being grateful.
So as you're present, whenever I come into this moment of presence; of seeing what I see and hearing what I'm hearing and feeling what I'm feeling and just being completely here, the feeling that I inevitably get is 'Wow, thank you! I'm alive!' And it's just so easy to do. Anyhow, enough of the psychobabble, right?