Imagine walking from one side of a dessert to the other. Along the way, while being hot, dry, tired and especially thirsty you come upon an oasis. After a brief thirst quenching drink of cool water you settle down in the shade to just relax, to just be. Another image might be after a long hike or an extensive job that is completed or recovering after an illness; you are completely content to just sit and be. You might look up at the open blue sky with some white clouds floating by and contemplate the vastness of space.
This calm feeling or sensation is what I will call the oasis. A flowing state of body and mind that is a respite an oasis from the routine thoughts about getting more of what we want and less of what we do not want.
I invite you to read more on finding your own oasis right where you are.
The feeling tone of the oasis is happiness and this feeling tone of happiness is more of a verb than a noun. It is an oasis to flow along with and rest for a moment during the day.
Happiness is a tool that assists us in removing whatever it is that cuts us off from the moment of life that we are in. It is a tool, a utilitarian term that allows us to create a space to see what is happening around us without getting overwhelmed by the details of that happening or circumstance. The view from this space can free the mind from fixations that bind us to our old habits and past reactions. When this space, this oasis is there we find ourselves in the midst of life rather than entangled in the web of our personal stories.
Happiness is a point of view. It is not a pair of rose colored glasses that sees everything as rosy but a space that acknowledges that this moment is just a moment in the big picture of the Universe of space and time.
We are a speck of star dust in a Universe of millions of stars in a vast space that takes millions of years traveling at the speed of light to traverse.
Holding the thought of the vastness of this space and time allows a tranquil view of this moment. This view is not gripped by the stickiness of the echoes of our past thoughts and experiences. Yes, we want what we want, when we want it but by settling down with the oasis of happiness a grander view and a broader landscape emerges. You may find that as your mood shifts with the rising tranquility your ability to re-balance returns; and you may decide that being happy is a greater priority for you than being right.
Thoughts start to echo in your mind, “let it be”, “be happy”, “move on”, “what’s next.”
What is your devotion anyway? Is it to grasp the objects of this moment’s desires of the mind, or is it to live in the oasis of happiness? Can you let go of being right in order to slide into happiness?
The bad news is that everything keeps changing and as soon as we are settled into happiness and we realize it, it starts to slip. The good news is that as we start to slip we become immediately aware to some extent that something is amiss. When we remember to respond to this feeling and catch it early it is much easier to slide back into the oasis of happiness
Shifting into the oasis – two approaches
Most often we are shifting in and out of the oasis of happiness due to getting what we want (shifting in) and then not getting what we want (shifting out). It is a constant roller coaster.
Another shift into the oasis can occur when we slow or stop the mind from its continual commentary on what is happening. Do we like what is happening or not. Notice that I wrote that the mind is in its commentary mode. In sports casting there is the play by play description of what is happening and then there is the commentary about what has just happened. The trick is to shift into the experience of what is happening rather than the commentary on it.
Examples of this could be watching a documentary, a panel discussion, sports event, one on one conversation, walk in nature or even on line at the store etc.
If you are on line at a store and wanting the line to move faster so that you can get to where you want to be start by really focusing on the detail of what is right in front of you. Look at it like a blood hound sniffing the air.
If you are on line at the food store begin by bringing all of your attention to the cashier. Observe all of his movements as carefully and closely as you can. Imagine that you are writing a position paper on cashiers and this is the first one that you are observing. When the cashier turns to the next customer in line note that activity. When he picks up an item to scan note that. Notice how he holds the item and how it is turned toward the scanner.
Keep watching and noticing all the details and movements of the cashier. Notice when he turns and looks at the register, his eyes moving, his mouth moving, his arms and chest etc. By bringing more and more attention and focusing in this manner you are linking the outside world with your inner world. In addition to the detail that you are noticing you remain aware of whatever else is happening around you. As this skill develops you will be surprised to discover that your awareness has gained a fluid dynamic quality. It is no longer stuck in the repetitive routine thoughts that accompany you each day.
The greater your concentration and focus on the details of what your senses are experiencing without any commentary the clearer your mind will become. Fresh ideas may arise spontaneously now that the veil of the echoes of redundant thought have been replaced with a focus on what is happening right now. Within a few seconds of this practice you will be able to feel the shift back into the oasis. You may still be standing in line but now it has become interesting and you are building energy rather than losing it.
You are flowing along in the oasis of happiness.