Secrets For A Happier Life June 12, 2014

Secrets For A Happier Life: Ideas, Inspiration & Practices
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Isn’t that interesting for happiness

 

Michael

Michael D Selzer DDS

 

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Experience directly
June 12, 2014
 Dear Michael,   

 

Interest is a feeling or emotion that causes attention to focus on an object, event, or process. In contemporary psychology of interest, the term is used as a general concept that may encompass other more specific psychological terms, such as curiosity and to a much lesser degree surprise.

 

The emotion of interest does have its own facial expression, of which the most prominent component is having dilated pupils. (wikipedia)

 

Well isn’t that interesting?  I have been playing with this thought for a few months.  It has become an occasional spontaneous thought of self reflection.  It began as a  momentary surprise in my mind to something that caught my attention, something that piqued my curiosity and I said to myself, “isn’t that interesting?”

 

 

I invite you to continue reading below and hope you enjoy this string of moments below.

 

Michael Selzer DDS  

Quick Changes
It is a wake up call to the mind. A momentary stopping of the continual minds flow of thoughts from one moment to the next. An opening of a gap between what just happened and before it flows into the next thought.

 

A while ago one of my golfing buddies intending to hit a ball over the water came up short and the ball struck the water about 5 yards before the dry land on the other side.  Instead of the ball sinking it bounced off the water onto solid ground and rolled up on to the green. The surprise was that this ball was not a line drive but a high arcing ball that usually sinks with a big splash.  My mind jumped into the thought “isn’t that interesting?” There was a gap and a wide eyed look of surprise and then an immediate searching for an explanation of how this may have happened. This gap of no thought is like a breath of fresh mountain air.  An instant of peaceful being rather than doing.

 

But it does not take something out of the ordinary to raise this question.  With some practice this question more often arises on its own.  The value and benefit of this is the moment of self reflection, a glimpse into the working of your mind and a brief vacation from the hectic pace of daily activity.

 

You might think of it as an alarm clock that wakes you up but instead of ringing it goes “isn’t that interesting, isn’t that interesting?, isn’t that interesting? wake up! wake up! wake up!”  Like looking from the outside in rather that from the inside out.  Seeing the big picture framing this moment. More easily getting back on the track you choose.

 

On another level you have probably had the experience of driving on I-95 and while lost in thought or singing along to the

 music and missed your exit.  Usually I would be annoyed at both the loss of time and loss of remembering whe

re I was but now I think “isn’t thatinteresting?  The that being in italics to emphasize that it is the skipping of the mind, the ability of the mind to remain cognizant and fully aware of driving and at the same time to forget where I am, where I am going and how to get there!; that is the interesting part of “isn’t that interesting?

Small Moments Of Happiness
Patterns of the mind start in emerge.  Isn’t it interesting that I can stroll along the shops on Atlantic Avenue not thinking about pastries and then after walking past a bakery noticing that not only did I start to salivate like Pavlov’s dog but it takes all of my will power to not turn back and get some (which of course I do at times).  Isn’t thatinteresting?  By seeing the patterns of mind that develop for whatever reasons there is an opportunity in the gap to allowing the habitual automatic reaction to dissolve and then to calmly decide what to do.  Or just do it and enjoy the interesting thought. Isn’t thatinteresting?   It also breaks the tension of the moment in the middle of a heated debate to reflect on how interesting it is that I can get so emotional about whatever it is.  Or how my mind looks to be distracted away from the rising of a burning sensation in my muscles while holding a yoga pose when I fully understand the value of not turning away from the experience of this moment. Asking myself,  “Isn’t that interesting? is amusing. I accept the work of exercise but not so much carrying a heavy bag of groceries or laundry. Well, “Isn’t that interesting.” 

A puppy’s perspective

 

Interest in something can also be related to the amount of attention we place on it.  When I hit a golf ball over the water and the ball is flying high and straight towards the center of the green my attention and interest are riveted on the flight of the ball. The spontaneous interest focuses my attention.  When I am at a boring lecture and my attention wanders my mind drifts far away. Bringing attention back can rekindle interest.  It does not have to be attention to the subject matter but to the state of attention.  This can be accomplished at a lecture or anywhere by focusing on the details of what you see or hear.  At a lecture focus on the movements of the lecturer.  Arm movements, facial expression, leg movements, fingers, hair etc.  Outside the ground, cracks in the sidewalk, color of the sky, cloud formations etc.  Flowing into attention to details will bring with it interest and then the interest goes forward on its own.

 

Attention slows down the thoughts in the mind to the speed of now.  Watching a flower grow for most of us is boring.  Watching a time lapse film clip of a flower growing or a building being built becomes interesting.  When the speed of thought is faster than the awareness of the mind to follow it we become bored.  Well, “isn’t that interesting?

 

So right now no matter what you are thinking about this newsletter ask yourself, “Isn’t thatinteresting? 

 
I had planned to send a story about the Bellerose Bakery but that will have to wait for the next issue. Isn’t that interesting?
 

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