Two weeks ago we heard that the Dalai Lama has given his support to the Exploring What Matters course established by the Action for Happiness project, started in 2010 by Richard Layard, Geoff Mulgan and Anthony Seldon. He is AfH’s official Patron, endorsing its key beliefs:
1. We can each affect our happiness and the happiness of those around us
2. We need to prioritise the things that cause happiness
3. Helping others is essential for a happier society
The project was proud to publicise a quote given by the Dalai Lama to the BBC:
‘I wholeheartedly support the Exploring What Matters course and hope that many thousands will benefit from it and take action to create a happier world’ ~ Dalai Lama
Now Action for Happiness wants to get the course into hundreds of communities and is running a crowdfunding campaign to back it up – it isn’t a profit making organisation so needs support (and volunteers) to get it off the ground.
It is easy to be cynical about something that seems to offer what appears to be a simple solution to the many problems in our society. Of course we affect the happiness of those around us, and it is never a bad thing to help others. But it is easy to forget those life enhancing things in a world that is so fast paced and driven towards commercial and personal success. We don’t always put the happiness of ourselves or others first.
Action for Happiness has what it calls a ‘Great Dream’ – offering 10 keys to happiness.
No one can argue with any of those terms as a means of finding life easier to cope with and more meaningful. It is a ‘great dream’, but small steps can be taken every day to achieve greater happiness, and we have to at least applaud the attempt to get us all to take stock of what is important to us.
Amongst other things, Action for Happiness suggests we take more notice of the world around us, connect with people and keep learning new things. It supports a mindful approach to life and the course it wants to take out into the world asks big questions, such as What really matters in life? What actually makes us happy? and How should we treat others?
We were relieved to see that the project doesn’t expect those experiencing difficult times, depression or anxiety, to ‘pick themselves up’ and move on by themselves. It acknowledges that we all need help at some time and we need to ask for it when we are ‘stuck’ and can’t find a way through. In fact, there is a whole page on their website devoted to countering arguments put forward by sceptics who feel the whole idea is too simplistic and subjective.
So do take a look at the Action for Happiness website and let us know what you think. Do you have any concerns? We would love to know what you think.
Our view is that surely we have to try? The world seems to be going to the proverbial hell in a handcart at the moment, with our global humanity being lost in political maneuvering and brutal conflict. We think we know how to be happy, but it can’t hurt to remind ourselves every so often, can it?