Flow

Happiness: Theory and Practice

February 6, 2016

Theory

I’ve just started one of my 2016 challenges, which is to read one interesting book a month. An achievable goal for a slow reader with a busy life. I like to absorb, think about, and, more importantly, enjoy what I’m reading.

My book for February (January was my holiday month) was originally published in 1990. Flow: The Psychology of Happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (good luck pronouncing that) is “The Classic Work on How to Achieve Happiness”.

Chapter 2 “The Anatomy of Consciousness” talks about how we are at a time in history where the ability to control oneself is not held in high esteem. This is unlike previous periods in history when certain cultures did not accept people as members of the community unless they could master their thoughts and feelings. The chapter describes with great insight what consciousness is, and how it works.

Practice

I deliberately chose my first book to complement another 2016 challenge - learn how to meditate. I’ve been using a simple app called “buddhify”, which you can think of as “mindfulness for the digital generation”. With the app on my iPhone, I play short (5 to 10 minutes) guided targeted meditations in the morning when traveling to work, during the day, and at night before going to sleep.

The app has a beautiful user interface for selecting which meditation you would like to play and even subtly suggests which type you should use based on the time of the day.

There are also stats, but I haven’t felt the need to look at them during the week for motivation. I do think it’s interesting reflecting that consistently doing short meditations each day really adds up by the end of the week. This week I spent 1.4 hours meditating. I can feel the effect of a short meditation on my mind and body, so it will be interesting to see the cumulative long-term impact.

Check it out - buddhify.com.