Our study focus this week was contentment and how it differs from the fleeting happiness we get from material objects. We could think of these as outer happiness and inner happiness, because the first is triggered by external events (a new computer, a birthday party) whilst the second is a deeper emotional stability which stays with us through the ups AND the downs that life throws at us.
We watched a short television interview with a rickshaw driver in India, whose life is harsh by our standards, and yet who was assessed as being as happy as the average American (though this could be more a comment on America :)). We had a very pertinent discussion after this about the difference between contentment and a ‘whatever’ attitude. It’s important not to confuse contentment with being lackadaisical about our life. We still work to improve ourselves, our family and our environment, but we do not have to wait for these improvements to be content – that’s the difference. So we could say that contentment is a way of being (third video down the page).
We also looked at meditation methods and did some short practice sessions. Next week we will focus on longer meditation sessions, and review the material from this week. This week’s study booklet has a very interesting article about Bhutan’s model of GNH, Gross National Happiness, and how it is being adopted by the UN as a ‘development indicator’. Food for thought!