Seven shortcuts to daily bliss

The ancient yogis were right: Set a good tone first thing in the morning and you will float through the day.

by Meryl Davids Landau — 

Sure, the ancient yogis found inner bliss by practicing 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, attending myriad workshops and then experimenting with what works for me, I have created my own Reader’s Digest-like shortcut to daily bliss. To connect to your elevated, inner self, try (as best as you can) to sprinkle these simple steps throughout your day:

1. Sing in the shower — The ancient yogis were right: Set a good tone first thing in the morning, and you will float through the day. But since I cannot drag myself out of bed early enough to meditate, my solution is to sing in the shower.

Rather than fixate on problems and to-do lists, I send my thoughts skyward via song. I learned this technique from a healthy and joyful 99-year-old man whom, I am convinced, got that way because he belts 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 the here-and-now is most important.

I decided to use the occasional chirping of the birds outside my south Florida 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 do not 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 is that they keep the mind fixated on what is wrong instead of on the higher vibration or the fabulous things that are working.

Next time you are ready to criticize or complain, stop and ask, “What is this unhappy situation making me desire?” Then turn your whole focus to that.

4. Stretch your arms up — As a longtime, big-time fan of yoga, I know the value of sneaking even a couple of poses into the day. The stretches make you feel great physically and, equally important, they expand your mind.

My favorite micro-session when I cannot do a full class is boat pose, aka Superman, which is a full forward bend and a half spinal twist. (If you are at your desk: raise your arms, arch backward and hold a minute; fold forward down to your ankles for another minute; then twist around to the right side, then the left.)

5. Sit on your rump — I am not talking about all those hours we spend on the computer. I am talking about meditation. Not necessarily the 15 to 30 minutes, twice-daily kind that experts recommend. (Definitely do that when you can. But I am talking shortcuts here.) Ten, or even five minutes once or twice anytime during the day is sufficient.

By focusing the mind on one thing (a word like “peace,” a sound like “om,” or the flicker of a candle), you are training it to release the worries from the past or fears about the future that prevent us from fully experiencing the present. I adore my 10-minute mini-meds and, more importantly, the way they spill into the rest of my day.

6. Fantasize — No, not about sex, although you are welcome to do that, too. Fantasize about what you want for your life.

The teachings about the law of attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks make it clear that you manifest what you think about. I used to spend much of my day pondering things as they were (what the Hicks call “tell-it-like-it-is-itis”). But if our thoughts create, it behooves us to shift to those that make our hearts sing: the desired job, financial state, health status, dream trip, romantic partner and/or situation in the world. Ponder your desires in great detail until you feel enthusiasm stirring.

7. Kiss your pillow (and your partner, too) — Before going to bed each night, think about five people, events and/or objects you appreciate. Begin with the easiest: items right in your delicious bed (including your scrumptious pillow and, if someone is there, your mate).

How better to end your day than by connecting to your highest self — which, as pure love, always appreciates. You will drift off with ease and, more importantly, set a glorious vibration to wake up to tomorrow morning.


Meryl Davids Landau is the author of the new spiritual women’s novel, Downward Dog, Upward Fog. She has also written for many national magazines — including Reader’s Digest, Whole Living, Self, O — the Oprah magazine and more.


Reprinted from AZNetNews, Volume 30, Number 3, June/July 2011.


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