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How Mindfulness Leads to Happiness

Mindfulness leads to a different kind of happiness than we're used to.

Well today, I am actually going to share a quote with you from my good friend, Scott Barry Kaufman, that I think brilliantly encapsulates a mindfulness meditation, and one of the great features of it. I'll talk more about that in a moment. First, let's start with tuning into the sound of the bells, making this our short 15 seconds of meditation together. Listen to the sound, follow it all the way until it dissolves into silence. So I'm going to read you this quote by Scott.

Scott Barry Kaufman is a professor at Barnard College, Columbia, formerly professor at U Penn. He's a, a good friend, a big voice in the psychology world, runs the psychology podcast and he's a brilliant mind and he's a budding meditator and he wrote this. This is actually a tweet from I think a couple months ago, actually a month ago. And, well, I'll just read it to you. He says, "Mindfulness meditation is a matter of rewiring your brain so that instead of primarily being rewarded by the possibility of reward, you are intrinsically rewarded by all of the beauty that already exists at any given moment, right in front of your eyes or in your rich imagination." Whoa.

Okay. I think I'll read that again for you so that we can let it sink in. There's a lot there that on the surface it might just sound like a nice soothing quote, but it's pointing to something really deep and meaningful about what the practice of mindfulness does to the mind over time. And in this case, he's pointing to the brain. So he says, "Mindfulness meditation is a matter of rewiring your brain so that instead of primarily being rewarded by the possibility of reward," instead of being rewarded by the possibility of reward, this meaning like something in the future will happen and then we'll be happy, instead of that, you're intrinsically rewarded.

Intrinsically rewarded from the inside out, not based on external variables. Intrinsically rewarded by all of the beauty that already exists at any given moment, right in front of your eyes or in your rich imagination. So if we. I think of a moment of mindfulness, let's just say a moment of meditation, the way we practice. The kind of happiness and fulfillment that we're cultivating is very different than what we're used to pursuing in day-to-day life.

Instead of trying to get someplace else or change our experience, we're learning to relax into experience, to settle into this moment, however it is, and letting the peace come out of not resisting experience. And so this quote, when he's saying we're rewiring the brain so that instead of primarily being rewarded by the possibility of reward, that idea is how we typically find happiness in day-to-day life. The, the possibility of reward, the possibility of something happening outside of me or in a future moment that will meet the blueprint for what I want this moment to look like. And we can go our entire lives pursuing that kind of happiness. And it's, it is actually a form of happiness, right? There are many people that have lived great lives like that, where you set a goal, or something you're working toward.

And when you get that, there's a little bit of fulfillment. Then you adjust and then you set another goal and you move toward that. And you can kind of just go through that cycle in life. But it's, it's very transient. Or because experience is transient, there's no like real lasting satisfaction in it, and we're always kind of chasing something.

So a lot of people that eventually come to meditation and come because they're looking for something deeper and Scott's quote is pointing to that something deeper. Instead of that kind of happiness being rewarded by the possibility of reward, you're intrinsically rewarded by all of the beauty that already exists at any given moment. And that comes from training. That is the power of the meditation practice, where we, we soften all of the resistances we typically have to the moment, the way it is. And when we soften that we get to, our mind expands in such a way that we can hold the, the many dimensions of what are here, including pain, discomfort, but also gratitude and joy.

And like all of that can actually exist sometimes in a single moment, many different flavors and where we're intrinsically drawn to experience the fullness of that. The many dimensions of that, which I think, starting out seems weird. When I at least was getting into these practices, I was always thinking, like, why would I be drawn to experience the fullness of life, specifically the painful parts? Like, I'm just, I, I want to be present so that I don't have to experience those parts. But the deeper I've gone into my practice, the more I've appreciated, the, the certain kind of wholeness I get to experience when I open up to those dimensions. And that's come from the wisdom of seeing that the more I fight them, they don't go away.

It's not like I push away sadness. And then it's like, Oh, now there's joy. It just doesn't work like that. So there's some recognition that happens over time. Like these experiences are often like gravity, you could fight them and get angry that they're there, but they're still going to be there.

So, eventually you need to learn to walk with it and move with them. But it's not just like an acceptance of these experiences. We really can start to value and appreciate all of these layers of our humanness and sadness, and even our moments of grief as painful as it is, there can be this soft appreciation of Whoa, this is like, I'm really experiencing the full experience of this human life. And as much as we might hate it and resist it and want to get out of it, there can be, yes, and an appreciation for what it means to show up for that. And the tenderization that that can happen.

The way that that can soften us, dropping us into more states of connection, receptivity, vulnerability, these come when we decompensate, when we stop trying to be something else or have a different experience than what's here. And then were intrinsically rewarded by all of the beauty that already exists at any given moment, right in front of our eyes. And that's what this quote is pointing to. Mindfulness meditation, as a matter of rewiring your brain so that instead of primarily being rewarded by the possibility of reward, you are intrinsically rewarded by all of the beauty that already exists at any given moment, right in front of your eyes or in your rich imagination. So ponder that today.

As you go throughout your day, notice if you are caught up in the happiness that's dependent on the possibility of reward. And instead, just see if you could take a breath and relax into this moment as it is. Deep fulfillment does not come from chasing a future moment. It comes from settling in and relaxing into this moment as it is. So let's all thank Scott Barry Kaufman for this great quote.

You could go follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Send him a nice message. He's a great human being, hugely humble and curious and brilliant. So thank you, Scott. Okay.

That's it. Talk to you soon. Take care.

Talk

4.5

How Mindfulness Leads to Happiness

Mindfulness leads to a different kind of happiness than we're used to.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Well today, I am actually going to share a quote with you from my good friend, Scott Barry Kaufman, that I think brilliantly encapsulates a mindfulness meditation, and one of the great features of it. I'll talk more about that in a moment. First, let's start with tuning into the sound of the bells, making this our short 15 seconds of meditation together. Listen to the sound, follow it all the way until it dissolves into silence. So I'm going to read you this quote by Scott.

Scott Barry Kaufman is a professor at Barnard College, Columbia, formerly professor at U Penn. He's a, a good friend, a big voice in the psychology world, runs the psychology podcast and he's a brilliant mind and he's a budding meditator and he wrote this. This is actually a tweet from I think a couple months ago, actually a month ago. And, well, I'll just read it to you. He says, "Mindfulness meditation is a matter of rewiring your brain so that instead of primarily being rewarded by the possibility of reward, you are intrinsically rewarded by all of the beauty that already exists at any given moment, right in front of your eyes or in your rich imagination." Whoa.

Okay. I think I'll read that again for you so that we can let it sink in. There's a lot there that on the surface it might just sound like a nice soothing quote, but it's pointing to something really deep and meaningful about what the practice of mindfulness does to the mind over time. And in this case, he's pointing to the brain. So he says, "Mindfulness meditation is a matter of rewiring your brain so that instead of primarily being rewarded by the possibility of reward," instead of being rewarded by the possibility of reward, this meaning like something in the future will happen and then we'll be happy, instead of that, you're intrinsically rewarded.

Intrinsically rewarded from the inside out, not based on external variables. Intrinsically rewarded by all of the beauty that already exists at any given moment, right in front of your eyes or in your rich imagination. So if we. I think of a moment of mindfulness, let's just say a moment of meditation, the way we practice. The kind of happiness and fulfillment that we're cultivating is very different than what we're used to pursuing in day-to-day life.

Instead of trying to get someplace else or change our experience, we're learning to relax into experience, to settle into this moment, however it is, and letting the peace come out of not resisting experience. And so this quote, when he's saying we're rewiring the brain so that instead of primarily being rewarded by the possibility of reward, that idea is how we typically find happiness in day-to-day life. The, the possibility of reward, the possibility of something happening outside of me or in a future moment that will meet the blueprint for what I want this moment to look like. And we can go our entire lives pursuing that kind of happiness. And it's, it is actually a form of happiness, right? There are many people that have lived great lives like that, where you set a goal, or something you're working toward.

And when you get that, there's a little bit of fulfillment. Then you adjust and then you set another goal and you move toward that. And you can kind of just go through that cycle in life. But it's, it's very transient. Or because experience is transient, there's no like real lasting satisfaction in it, and we're always kind of chasing something.

So a lot of people that eventually come to meditation and come because they're looking for something deeper and Scott's quote is pointing to that something deeper. Instead of that kind of happiness being rewarded by the possibility of reward, you're intrinsically rewarded by all of the beauty that already exists at any given moment. And that comes from training. That is the power of the meditation practice, where we, we soften all of the resistances we typically have to the moment, the way it is. And when we soften that we get to, our mind expands in such a way that we can hold the, the many dimensions of what are here, including pain, discomfort, but also gratitude and joy.

And like all of that can actually exist sometimes in a single moment, many different flavors and where we're intrinsically drawn to experience the fullness of that. The many dimensions of that, which I think, starting out seems weird. When I at least was getting into these practices, I was always thinking, like, why would I be drawn to experience the fullness of life, specifically the painful parts? Like, I'm just, I, I want to be present so that I don't have to experience those parts. But the deeper I've gone into my practice, the more I've appreciated, the, the certain kind of wholeness I get to experience when I open up to those dimensions. And that's come from the wisdom of seeing that the more I fight them, they don't go away.

It's not like I push away sadness. And then it's like, Oh, now there's joy. It just doesn't work like that. So there's some recognition that happens over time. Like these experiences are often like gravity, you could fight them and get angry that they're there, but they're still going to be there.

So, eventually you need to learn to walk with it and move with them. But it's not just like an acceptance of these experiences. We really can start to value and appreciate all of these layers of our humanness and sadness, and even our moments of grief as painful as it is, there can be this soft appreciation of Whoa, this is like, I'm really experiencing the full experience of this human life. And as much as we might hate it and resist it and want to get out of it, there can be, yes, and an appreciation for what it means to show up for that. And the tenderization that that can happen.

The way that that can soften us, dropping us into more states of connection, receptivity, vulnerability, these come when we decompensate, when we stop trying to be something else or have a different experience than what's here. And then were intrinsically rewarded by all of the beauty that already exists at any given moment, right in front of our eyes. And that's what this quote is pointing to. Mindfulness meditation, as a matter of rewiring your brain so that instead of primarily being rewarded by the possibility of reward, you are intrinsically rewarded by all of the beauty that already exists at any given moment, right in front of your eyes or in your rich imagination. So ponder that today.

As you go throughout your day, notice if you are caught up in the happiness that's dependent on the possibility of reward. And instead, just see if you could take a breath and relax into this moment as it is. Deep fulfillment does not come from chasing a future moment. It comes from settling in and relaxing into this moment as it is. So let's all thank Scott Barry Kaufman for this great quote.

You could go follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Send him a nice message. He's a great human being, hugely humble and curious and brilliant. So thank you, Scott. Okay.

That's it. Talk to you soon. Take care.

Talk

4.5

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