Buddha identified five mental states or habits of the mind that contribute to our dissatisfaction. He called this “the five hindrances”.
Desire for Sense Pleasure - When you are caught up in this hindrance, you seek out pleasant experiences (sight, sound, body sensation, thoughts and emotions).
Aversion - The hindrance can take the form of mild aversion or it can manifest in destructive outbursts of anger. You are quick to criticize and judge yourself, others and the world.
Torpor or Lethargy - This one is characterized by apathy- a feeling of heaviness, that everything is too much effort. You try to avoid it, as in, “I can’t be bothered”.
Restlessness or Worry - When this hindrance arises, you are anxious, agitated, nervous and easily distracted- the other side of the coin from mental lethargy in many ways.
Skeptical Doubt - There is skillful doubt, which is not believing something simply because others have said it. When you are caught up in skeptical doubt, you are constantly looking for the flaw.
It is not the hindrances themselves that keep you away from the feeling of contentment and happiness. It is our reaction to them. We call these hindrances to happiness as the weeds and the easiest way to remove them is to starve them or pay the least attention to them. Some of the weeds for happiness are as follows -
You have to develop your own strategy to overcome this obstacle of weeds for happiness. The easiest and best way being starving them or not paying attention to them or through cultivating the exact opposite of the above.
In conversation with ‘You’
We are born out of happiness and we essentially are happy eternal beings. It is during our upbringing and as we evolve, that we start learning from external things or a place that can make us happy. We slowly and slowly ignore and finally forget the fact that happiness lies within. The weeds to happiness or impediments are basically barriers and all of them are mental barriers to achieve happiness. Read the above barriers, none of them is physical, all are mental. They can be easily removed by a mere shift of thinking pattern.
Now the question that arises is how to remove the weeds?
The answer is, we do not have to make any effort to remove them. They have to be starved. Don’t give any attention to anger, attachment, bondage, doubt, fear, negativity, hatred and so on. Starve them and just cultivate their opposites. Anger is nothing but the absence of positivity. We cannot suggest any measures to remove negativity, in fact there are none. Yes there are measures to cultivate positivity. Once there are measures to cultivate positivity, you automatically remove the negative ones. So simple!
How to create the positivity must be a question that must be cropping in your mind. Total self acceptance and acceptance of the present, however bad or good it may be, is the key. For if it is bad it could have been worse and if good it could be better, it’s all relative. Don’t go to relative world. Be static. Accept what it is. Do not rely on something that is not static and is always changeable. Once you accept the present, you start paying gratitude and love for everything that has lead you to the present. Once you pay love and gratitude, the impediments cannot coexist. They will disappear at an outstanding pace. It must have taken them long to establish their presence but the good news is that they can be removed at a much greater pace, just by the shift of the thought in one second, here and now.
Since these are your thoughts which have grown in your thought pattern, it is you who have to take the lead in removing them. Let’s start here and now! Close your eyes and see them going away at a pace that you could not have even thought of.