Secrets For A Happier Life August 2, 2012

Secrets For A Happier Life: Ideas, Inspiration & Practices



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Play by play





Michael D Selzer DDS


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Experience vs interpretation

Aug 2, 2012


Dear Michael,  


The Olympics like many other sporting events has two sportscasters. One usually describes the action or the play by play and the other gives it a richer color or commentary. In relation to what we are doing and thinking the play by play would be what we are actually seeing, hearing or feeling etc and the commentary is what we are interpreting that experience to mean. Commentary would also be the feeling tone of liking or disliking about what is happening or being interested or bored.


Although they occur very close together the play by play occurs just prior to the commentary or interpretation. It is closer to being connected to thecommentary turnover flow of being in the moment of being more present. The more present we are the more of alive life becomes.
By interpreting the experience too soon we miss a lot of the experience itself. Stay with the experience and the richness of it; allow the coolness of cold air or the warmth of hot air to become present.  When we get lost in the story we also lose insights that might come along with the experience.
Placing attention on the experience allows the mind to relax and is soothing like sliding into a warm bath.
I invite you to continue reading below.



Michael Selzer DDS 

Quick Changes
Assuming that we would prefer to be more aware of the play by play ie. the experience we are having rather than the commentary how do we do that? In formal meditation we practice attention to the breath or some other object of awareness and bring our focus back to that object when we have become aware that we are thinking of something else.
But what about routine daily activity when we are not in formal meditation?
I have found that focusing intently on whatever is in front of me opens a door to more of the play by play and less of the commentary. For example I went to a workshop and during the first half hour while a lot of background information was being gone over Icommentary details  found that my thoughts had wandered away to somewhere outside the workshop. Also I noticed that my body was uncomfortable and I was starting to doodle on the pad in front of me.
I remembered this new idea and started to focus intently on the lecturer. I noticed his hands moving while he spoke, his head bobbing, the shine on his shoes, how he walked from one side to the other, how he clicked a device to change the slides, how his fingers flowed, the tone of his voice and his smile when he was listening to a question etc.
All of the details that I could possible notice became the focus of my attention. I found that I shifted to watching the play by play and had dropped the commentary, running in my mind, on whether I was going to enjoy this full day’s workshop. Also I noticed that the more I was focused on the details of the lecturer the more I was absorbing each word that he said. I was shifting from more of a commentary perspective to a play by play perspective.



Small Moments Of Happiness

Over the last few days whenever I found myself rushing or not fully involved with my surroundings I have just started to focus intently on whatever is there. In walking I focused on my shoes touching the ground. In my office I focused on sounds coming from the equipment and the music that was playing. While playing golf I noticed the dimples on the ball lying on the ground and the multiple shades of green grass.

Each time I did this I found that I started to shift more into the play by play of the actual experience. With less commentary my mind was freer to become aware and notice the natural happiness that wassmile paint on there. The veil that covered that happiness by the ego’s continual evaluation of experience was reduced.


It is not a state of rose colored glasses where everything just looks good. It was more of an oasis of space and lighter body sensation. It was an   expanded view of being, rather than circumstances having to fit into a narrow path of likes and dislikes.


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

Puppies seem to be naturally happy. They do notausten blue vest  dwell on making stories out of what is actually happening.

You might try this:
1. Start to observe how often you create a story around routine experiences like driving and shopping.
2. Notice where you have gotten lost in the interpretation and story and have lost contact with the experience itself.
3. Are there a few common themes to your stories that keep repeating?
4. Do your stories form a picture of your world view?
5. When you notice a story is there just drop it and see how your mood shifts and returns to a natural happiness as you return to direct experience.

Golf Secrets:  A golfer’s perspective for living in the moment
After your pre shot planning stop thinking. While you are swinging just be with the experience of the movement of the swing. Remain present with the feeling that your hands have of the weight of the club head. Any other thought is either about the past or future and is commentary and a distraction.
After the swing is completed is a time to evaluate and then use that feedback during the next pre shot routine.

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