It’s All in Your Head: Feeling Future Happiness Today

Do you know how WD-40 got its name? I recently discovered that the 40 refers to the number of versions of the formula that were created before its makers finally got a lubricant that worked just right.

Chances are, you’ve used it to make cranky windows open more easily, or get rid of that squeak in the door. But believe it or not, there was an Asian bus driver who once used WD-40 to remove a python, which had coiled itself around the undercarriage of his bus. (That must have been one slippery snake!) And police officers used WD-40 to remove a naked burglar trapped in an air conditioning vent. That’s according to the official WD-40 website.

Just goes to show, when you put something out there in the universe, you just don’t know how other people will react, or what they’ll do.

But I want to get back to that 40 element. For me, it relates to my own understanding of creativity. Sometimes writers need to redraft a story countless times before it’s a masterful work of art. The same holds true for all kinds of creativity — whether you have to bake 80 pies before you roll out crusts that are so flakey and light they could float up to heaven, or if you compose 30 versions of a song before it becomes so emotionally honest it could crumble a steel-plated heart.

It can be really tough to get yourself in the right mindset to stay inspired, not give up, when so much repeated effort lies ahead.

The secret to future success lies with attitude, if you ask me. There once was a woman who led a very unfulfilled life. Problems at work, problems with family. Bit of a crabapple. Then she adopted a scampy little kitten, and everything started to change. She was so much happier, with a pet who loved her unconditionally, made her laugh and filled a gaping void. And within about a year, she fell in love with a man who became her life partner.

Now, I’m not suggesting that cats can spark romance and passion. “Cupid” would never be a name I associate with my own two felines, no matter how much I adore them. But the kitten put my friend in another zone, sparked an openness and sense of delight in her. And sometimes those are important ingredients if you want to find the most desirable mate.

For me, there’s nothing quite like guided meditations to get in the right frame of mind for what’s important to me: creating amazing stories. To do that, I use two apps: Insight Timer and Calm. They help prime me for focused and very productive creative writing sessions as I work on two stories that are now in progress: a TV pilot and the sequel to my sci-fi dystopian novel, THE JUICE.

One of my favorite meditations is “Manifestation of a New Reality,” by Saqib Rizvi, which is on InsightTimer. During it, Rizvi notes that most of us try to achieve certain goals by waiting until we own or have certain things. Then we do actions that lead us to a more desired state of being. In other words, we follow a “have, do, be” model of thinking.

Instead, Rizvi strongly believes that the best model to follow is “be, do and have.” If we be happier (because of a kitten or something else), we’ll change what we do or how we behave. And that will lead us to be what we desire.

That may sound complicated, but Rizvi makes it simple as his meditation progresses. His mental journey begins with closed eyes. You feel the presence of the room more keenly: sensing familiar objects, sounds, scents. After some breathing exercises, which are deeply relaxing, Rizvi asks meditators to declare to the universe what it is they want to become. For example, if one wants to become a master chef, one might say “I am a master chef.” They don’t say, “I want to become a master chef.” It’s an “I am” principle that’s advocated by many masters of meditation. This is known as a sankalpa in sanskrit: declaring an intention.

Another part of Rizvi’s meditation is to thank the universe for helping you to realize certain desires, and separately, to awaken feelings of love by remembering someone who deeply loves you.

Next, you imagine what it will be like when a desire comes true. If you become a master chef, what will you be doing? Can you imagine yourself, for example, in a four-star Michelin restaurant, where people are raving about your marinated and blackened mackerel, served on a bed of crunchy fennel? Can you imagine a setting where you are winning an award for dishes like that?

Rizvi makes the imagined situations feel more real by focusing one’s consciousness of certain sounds, smells, visuals, sense of touch. And as a result, one feels the incredible emotions—of happiness, bliss—in those circumstances.

Here’s another way of thinking about what this type of “exercise” can create: “If you sow the seed of love, you will reap love. If you sow the seed of hatred, you will reap hatred.” That’s from the book KINDLE MY HEART, by the revered spiritual leader Gurumayi.

There’s more to guided meditations, of course. And I highly recommend checking out those that might appeal to your particular interests.

Has my meditation practice set up my life so that all my desires have become reality? Nope. But I believe that it’s put me on a better path to writing deeply and passionately—and that there’s a greater likelihood that what I produce will resonate with those who experience the worlds I create.

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