Sure, the ancient yogis found inner bliss by stretching in their yoga poses and sitting on their cushions for hours on end. But we live in the real world—frequently too busy treading water to spare that kind of time! Fortunately, after digesting tons of spiritual books and attending myriad workshops, then experimenting with what works for me, I’ve created my own Reader’s Digest-ish shortcut to daily bliss. To connect to your elevated interior, try (as best as you can) to sprinkle these simple steps throughout your day.
1. Sing in the shower. One thing the ancient yogis were right about: Set a good tone first thing in the morning and you float through the day. But I often can’t drag myself out of bed early enough to meditate, so my solution is, I sing in the shower. Rather than fixate on problems and to-dos, I send my thoughts skyward via song. I learned this technique from a healthy and joyful 99-year-old man, whom I’m convinced got that way because he belted out “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning” with every shampoo. I prefer Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten.”
2. Listen for the bird chirp (or the dog bark….). Several years ago, I read the old Aldous Huxley novel, Island, where the Mynah birds on his Utopian Pala constantly shout, “Attention, attention,” to remind the natives that here-and-now is most important. I decided to use the occasional chirping of the birds outside my window as my own prompt to pause; I stop and take a long, deep breath, and am immediately pulled into the present moment—the only place we can access our higher selves. If you don’t have regularly cacophonous fowls, any vocal animal, or even a neighbor’s crying baby, are equally wonderful cues.
3. Stop whining. The biggest problem with our chronic complaints: They keep the mind fixated on what’s going wrong, rather than on the higher-vibration, fabulous things that are working. Next time you’re ready to criticize or complain, stop and ask, “What is this unhappy situation making me desire?” Then turn your whole focus to that.