Lessons in Happiness : Cultivate Vitality, Humour, Curiosity and Grace
Updated: Sep 26, 2019
Everyone seems to be scrambling to crack the Happiness Code. It is after all, the one thing every human being desires. Once you your basic food and shelter needs are met, all other pursuits are fuelled by your search for happiness. A good partner, professional success, competitiveness, good health, travel, friends, prayer, spirituality, even addictions and consumerism have their roots in the quest for happiness. No matter how fleeting.
In the numerous workshops that I conduct with people of all age groups, genders and from different cultural and economic backgrounds, there are a few common and recurring themes and patterns. It is the increasing lack of vitality, humour, curiosity (the good kind, not the nosey type), and grace. Most people seem depleted of their vitality -- their chi, life force or prana, as you may know it. Humour seems to be at the cost of others, seldom emanating and flowing from their hearts. There is more curiosity about what the other person is doing, about checking their Facebook updates, or keeping track of the latest online sale, rather than the authentic childlike curiosity to learn, soak, examine, discover! And grace? That amazing quality of being considerate, kind or thoughtful seems to be becoming speedily irrelevant.
That's where the lovely ladies in the image above, young nuns or Chomos as they are locally called, take center stage. It's why they are so important, valuable and relevant to our times. They have all the key ingredients to happiness : vitality, humour, curiosity, and grace. They have unknowingly cracked the code and it is so embedded in their being that they barely even know it.
The pics above are taken during my time with them at the Sakya Monastery and Nunnery in Spiti Valley, bordering Tibet. It was part of a series of amazing and deeply invigorating sessions, where the topics ranged from mental health, to urbanisation, cultural and environment conservation, learning and thought. For me a critical aspect is to enable them to realize their role as powerful opinion makers and change agents amongst the youth of the region. They are brimming with questions, ideas, thoughts, have razor sharp minds and their energy feels fresh and radiant like the early morning rays of sunshine. They are curious about everything and the hunger for knowledge and understanding is palpable. Most them them come from really economically challenged backgrounds, have little or no exposure to the life outside of the valley, and have borne many hardships of life in this remote and poor cold desert. Yet, their spirits remain unscathed, soaring higher than people who pride themselves with "having it all". And their sense of humour, their innate joyousness is wildly contagious. To top it all, they all possess a quiet grace, gentle, warm and abundant. Each time I leave a session, I feel blessed, to be with them. Laugh with them. Eat with them. Most of all, to enjoy the company of such radiant souls and good human beings.
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