The Triangle of Happiness
Present Sense № 6
Welcome to Present Sense – a weekend curation for your seven senses with a recommendation to SEE, HEAR, SMELL, TASTE, TOUCH, BALANCE and ENVISION. Each week also includes an audio guided meditation.
In the film ‘The Triangle of Sadness’ the main character, a male model, is told to relax his “triangle of sadness” during a fashion casting. It refers to the area between our eyebrows, at the top of our nose, which shows confusion, anger and sadness. Eventually, it’s also where signs of aging appear, as tiny bridges of wrinkles.
That area of the face becomes symbolic for the ideal pursued in the movie (and real life): an ageless, expressionless, feeling-less human. The film is a satire centered around gluttony, vanity and greed – the true pyramid of misery.
Luckily, we have another triangle on our face – which I’ll deem the triangle of happiness. I discovered its existence on my first Vipassana retreat in 2012. Before then, I had dabbled with meditation, but it wasn’t until I attended that retreat that I really felt the benefits of this spiritual practice.
Vipassana (as taught by S.N Goenka) are 10 day-long silent meditation retreats. They’re donation-based and volunteer-run, with centers around the world. Each retreat is organized the same exact way: the first 3 days are dedicated to learning Anapana meditation, and then moving onto the Vipassana technique.
Anapana is a simple and straight-forward meditation which consists of focusing on one area on the body: the small triangle (or pearl-shape) between our nostrils and our upper lip. The chosen area is purposely small, in order to get the mind to focus. The method consists of noticing the feeling of our breath on that spot.
It seems innocuous, and maybe even boring to spend 3 full days doing that. The mind wants out, the body aches, and the silence is all-enveloping. But that’s the point: you’re taming your monkey mind. Since the human brain averages 3,000 thoughts per hour, it’s challenging to not let those thoughts run havoc. As the wise saying goes: “The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."
Anapana slowly trains this wild thinking mind by focusing on the breath – the sensation between our nostrils and our upper lip – within the triangle of happiness. Our thoughts, no longer fed by our attention, slowly start calming down and subsiding.
So today, I wanted to share with you a guided Anapana meditation. It’s the main meditation style I practice daily, and it’s made a world of difference in my life. It can be used anytime, anywhere, whenever you need it.
As always, I also offer you my 7 weekly sensory recommendations, which include something to: SEE, HEAR, SMELL, TASTE, TOUCH, BALANCE and ENVISION.