A couple of weeks ago I started to write a blog post about an elusive thing that I termed the “magic formula” for happiness.
My thinking was that If I could define the “magic formula” which would contain the various aspects and elements of my life that I needed to get right then I would be a long way down the path to achieving happiness.
I’m glad I didn’t ship what I wrote.
I have just returned from a 10 day Vipassana meditation course which has been the catalyst for a profound shift in my thinking and approach.
During this time I spent ten days in silence, practiced the Vipassana technique, meditated for around 10 hours per day, attended Dhamma talks, observed a vegetarian diet, and received instructions and guidance from this man.
The foundation of the practice of the Vipassana technique is Sila (Morality), Samadhi (Concentration of the mind) and Panna (Wisdom).
The Vipassana technique encourages students to practice equanimity and awareness at the experiential level and as a result achieve non-attached observation of the reality of the present moment as it manifests in the body and mind.
The ten day Vipassana course was a beautiful, challenging, raw, disturbing and confronting experience that I would recommend to anyone that has some prior experience with meditation.
If you don’t have any experience with meditation then I would recommend you consider learning to meditate and incorporate this practice into your daily routine as countless studies like this one led by Harvard affiliated researchers have found it has a positive impact on memory, anxiety levels, stress levels, energy levels, emotional regulation, attention span and learning ability.
If you’re interested in learning to meditate and understanding more about Buddhism then I recommend Buddhism for Busy People: Finding Happiness in an Uncertain World
which provides a simple and clear guide to meditation and how in the busy western world we can begin the journey to enlightenment through Buddhist practices.
One of the things I love about Buddhism is that it asks you to take and practice only what works for you so you’re bound to get something from this book no matter what you currently believe!
Now with a greater understanding of Buddhist practices and principals I’ve realised that in my attempt to define a “magic formula” I was in fact setting myself up to experience the opposite of happiness – misery and suffering. Both of which arise as a result of attachment.
So what does it take to be “happy”?
Many of us have asked this question at some point but few seem to have found the answer and the lasting path to fulfilment.
May you all experience the ultimate truth, be free from misery, enjoy real peace, harmony and real happiness.