Blog post

Action For Happiness

On Tuesday 26th May, Ambassadors and ThinkForward students attended an Action for Happiness event, hosted by Matthiue Ricard (Director of Karuna-Shechen which runs Humanitarian Projects in the Himalayan Region). These projects have provided Education, Health and Social Services to disadvantaged communities in the Region. They have also built primary and secondary schools in Eastern Tibet where over 2,000 students receive free education. Karuna-Shechen also offers scholarship programmes to secondary and university Tibetan students. Their primary goal is to help young Tibetans, especially woman, to gain access to higher education. They have also helped set up medical centres across Nepal, India and Tibet to help treat people with new quality and safe equipment.

During his speech, Matthiue spoke in detail about the work he has done to help these regions, and how we can spread peace, love and harmony to others and for ourselves. However one thing that stuck in my mind from the night was his discussion of mindfulness.

While he was talking about mindfulness, he mentioned “The Sticker Test”. In the Sticker Test there were four people: ‘the friend’, ‘the non-friend’, ‘the unknown’ and ‘the sick’. Before 8 weeks of mindfulness and loving-kindness training, it was ‘the friend’ who gave away the most stickers. However after the 8 weeks mindfulness and kind-loving training, ‘the friend’ and ‘the sick’ gave away the same amount of stickers. Getting to know yourself and your mind, you will learn that you are no different to anyone else and no matter who you are, you have a purpose for being here.

He also gave some advice that if we all meditate for 10 seconds every hour, we will constantly appreciate everything around us and everything we have. He also used a metaphor of a perfume bottle. He explained the 10 second meditation is like a perfume bottle; if you take the lid off and spray it once, the smell will still be there once you’ve shut the lid, in other words the harmony and peace is still around you even when the meditation has stopped.

After the talk, I asked everyone for one thing they took away from the show and one thing they have learnt:

Matt: I really liked the metaphor of the perfume bottle and I’ve learnt that compassionate altruism is a habit.

Mel: To practise compassion, meditate and teach it to the younger generation.

Shelly: Meditation helps with fear and anger.

Tash and Shane: How to be happy.

Chelsea and Asiah: Money can’t buy you happiness.

Chloe T: I’ve learnt to be compassionate to other people.

Mabs: How to be naturalistic.

Yusuf: To cultivate courage.

Dominik: That money can’t buy you happiness and be compassionate to others because we can create equality.

Matt G: I’ve taken away inspirational quotes that teaches us how to be human. I’ve also learnt to inspire others to be more compassionate and being able to use empathy.

By Chloe Parker, ThinkForward Apprentice and Amirah El-Bashary, ThinkForward Ambassador