Monday was World Peace Day and we were lucky enough to get tickets to Action for Happiness’s ‘Create a Happier World’ event with the wonderful Dalai Lama and friends.
After His Holiness was welcomed on stage by Director of Action for Happiness, Mark Williamson with rapturous applause and a standing ovation, we heard from the wonderful Jasmine Hodge-Lake, a lady who’d participated in the ‘Exploring What Matters’ pilot course after suffering from chronic pain for many years.
Jasmine was followed by the amazing Adrian Bethune, a teacher from John Stainer School, who talked about how the school is championing Action for Happiness. I could write a whole blog on his incredible work, but instead, I’ll just link to Brockley Central’s blog; it really is inspirational.
It was then time for Lord Richard Layard, co-founder of Action for Happiness, to ‘interview’ His Holiness. What followed was an amusing, touching and (that word again) inspirational insight into the Dalai Lama’s philosophy. He touched on mental health, anger (and its place), the refugee situation (which he so wisely summed up saying that the only solution is to bring peace to their country), and our global responsibility.
After a break, the Dalai Lama having left and the protestors outside quietened, Geoff Mulgan, another co-founder of Action for Happiness, chaired a discussion on with four extremely knowledgeable speakers:
Richard Davidson, spoke about the neuroscience of happiness summing up:
* With mind training we can change our resilience
* See the positive in the world
* A wandering mind is an unhappy mind – pay attention!
* Be generous!
Editor of Psychologies Magazine, Suzy Greaves, talked about how to shift our culture towards happiness and how she’d partnered with Action for Happiness to start ‘Happiness Clubs’.
Ex-Wellington College Head, Sir Anthony Seldon, I have to say my favourite speaker of the day (bar DL of course), spoke about children and happiness; how the school system is outdated; how education is fundamental in developing a whole human being; how schools have a responsibility to draw out love, curiosity and wonderment. He took us through an exercise that he ‘punctuates’ his school days with – a simple meditation for one minute – amazing!
Finally, Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk, talked about how altruism affects happiness, quoting Martin Luther King:”Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
The day was incredible; from the ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to be in the room with the Dalai Lama, who exudes love and compassion, to the other speakers. It’s definitely made me want to do the Exploring What Matters Course and just take those small steps to being much happier!
You can still sponsor me for the London to Windsor bike ride, here.