Secrets For A Happier Life May 3, 2012

Secrets For A Happier Life: Ideas, Inspiration & Practices



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Starting over for happiness





Michael D Selzer DDS


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Intention and attention

May 3, 2012


Dear Michael,  



Like a shortcut through the woods my mother found a short cut through the maze of streets through Queens and the edge of  Brooklyn and we could get to Rockaway Beach in about 25 minutes.  One summer it seemed as if we were at the beach four or five times a week. 


There was a sense of freedom at the beach; less clothing, choose any open space and no lines to stay between. My favorite activity was building sand castles at the waters edge.  This was especially true when the tide was coming in.  Along with a sense of urgency to complete the “castle” before the rising tide or occasional rogue wave wiped it

start over car wash

out was the knowledge that I could, ” just start over again.” 


I think that was the most fun, the ability to enthusiastically care 100 % about what I was doing and at the same time knowing that it might be gone with the next wave.  And that I could just start over any time I wanted.  A free redo or as we call it in golf a Mulligan.


It turns out that starting over is a very central theme in the depth of meditation as well as the aliveness of  live.  I invite you to continue reading below or just start over from the top.. 


Michael Selzer DDS

Quick Changes

Just as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder what is interesting and absorbing to one person may be terribly boring to another. What holds your attention? Work? Play? Concern for a loved one? A good movie or conversation? A walk in the park or trip to the beach?

What rattles your attention? A near auto accident? Bad news? A sore elbow?
What if you could bring your mind back to just starting over? ie. the ability to take a slow breath in and just let go of any tension or thoughts of concern and just start over.
Starting over has a surface action of what ever it is you are doing and a foundation or default position of freedom and ease and fresh air.
The foundation of letting go and shifting to starting over is a practice that in time becomes the echo or default action whenever a sense of unease arises. The milk spills and rather than a disgruntled sigh you just take in a slow breath and start over in this moment with wiping the counter or floor.

Small Moments Of Happiness

Starting over may be experienced by combining intention with attention. If your intention is to be happy in as many moments of the day as you can you may start by placing attention on how you feel. The sooner you notice you are not happy the easier it is to just drop the unhappy thoughts and feelings and just start over with feeling happy. The natural state of each moment is happiness which often seems to become obscured by the outside circumstances of life. However, by paying attention to what it is that we are feeling we can then have the choice of just starting over or not; but it is our choice.
As with anything practicing just starting over with easier circumstances develops the ability to just start over with more difficult circumstances. Meditation on the breath is a very ease place to start. Start with an intention of sitting for 3 minutes or one minute and place your attention on the flow of breath in and out. Whenever you notice your mind shifted away from its attention on the breath allow yourself to just start over. The return to your intention of placing your attention to watching the breath is done with an open heart and compassion in a light easy manner. Just think and feel, “Okay, its fine, I will just start over.” Like taking another lick of the ice cream cone after catching a drip down the side. Just start over from the top.
By practicing just starting over with the breath the ability will develop to just start over and return to you preferred intention when moments of your day begin to pull your thoughts and feelings away. The trick is to notice the pulling away early and make a quick decision to just start over before it becomes more difficult.
Your intention may not be to be happy. You may want to be compassionate, kind hearted, interested, efficient etc in each moment. The foundation of your intention is your choice. The stronger your intention and the greater your practice in placing attention on what is happening for you in each moment the easier it will become to just start over with ease; along with the beginning of a “knowing I can do it” smile on your face.

Golf Secrets:  A golfer’s perspective for living in the moment
One of the reasons for most golfers to sense that they swing smoother on the practice range is the freedom of a bucket of balls and no score.  It is much easier to just start over and reach out to place another ball before your feet and swing again.
By practicing with the “feeling” of ease that comes from just starting over on the practice range you can more easily apply this to swinging with ease to the course itself.  

Happiness:  A puppy’s perspective for living in the moment

Puppy mind is a term often used to describe our mind’s jumping away from a concentration or meditation practice that we are placing our attentionausten beach silouette on.  In training a puppy you may try to have the puppy sit still and after a second or two the puppy is up and away.  In the same way our mind jumps away from our intended focus on attention. 


In training a puppy you just start over coaxing the puppy to sit still and again just start over and gently continue until the puppy gets it.  It is the same with us. 


The key is to cultivate the feeling of ease in letting go and just

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