Meditation and unhappiness are incompatible.

If you can dispel unhappiness from your system before you sit down to meditate, your meditation will be freer, easier and more effective.

Sri Chinmoy once offered three practical tips to help remove unhappiness. Each of these tips involves getting out the house, going somewhere and doing something. The very act of moving somewhere immediately challenges unhappiness. Unhappiness likes to brood in inert stillness, whereas movement invokes energy and a stirring of our spirit.

1) Go running to a garden near your house. Look at the flowers in the garden; appreciate and admire their beauty. Find one flower that particularly appeals to you and just gaze at that one flower, losing yourself in its beauty, purity, subtlety, simplicity and especially its fragrance. Touch your flower, feeling its delicate texture between your thumb and fingers. Unhappiness has to surrender…

2) Play with young children. If there are no young children around that you can play with, simply imagine them. Become yourself a 4 or 5-year old child, eager to play. Children have spontaneity, boundless bright imaginations and an inexhaustible appetite for fun. No room for unhappiness here…

3) Lie on your back on the grass and look up at the sky. (This one doesn’t work so well on a rainy day!) While breathing, imagine you are breathing in the sky itself. Already vast, feel the blue sky expanding and expanding without end within you. Or imagine that the sky itself is breathing, and it is inhaling you into itself. Either way, you are becoming the sky and its ever-expanding blue vastness. In vastness and expansion, unhappiness dissolves…

Of these three techniques, the flower is the easiest and most immediate, while the sky is the most difficult and yet the most lasting and effective.

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