There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

I just come back from Chiang Mai Center for the Arts. There, a few hundred meters from the airport, is a wonderful piece of land. Old wooden houses remind me of my house in Phayao. The special light of Northern Thai winter shines between the trees. I am there at the invitation by Laurence: I am joining her meditation group. As a special treat, Ajarn Pramual will tell his story. A philosophy professor at the University of Chiang Mai, he quit his job to walk all the way from the Northern city to Samui and back, a journey of 2800 km. He would set neither goals nor time frame, but he had a rule: he would walk as long as he would be happy. He would stop if he was not and let his body reconnect with mind and nature. I have not traveled to Samui and it is unlikely that I ever will. But Ajarn Pramual’s story resonates with my own experience: when I am happy, I am on track, and when I am not, I should stop and reflect and see deeply why I am not.

This thought brought me back to the Knowledge Fair and my happiness in the room during three days. Why was I happy? Because I left my “baggage” outside the meeting room, and connected with the family members of the Constellation, who like me had left their “baggage” outside. Three days for reconnecting with myself and others. Three days for appreciating the strengths of others and transferring the energy gushing from their stories into my own life.

Thanks to Ajarn Pramual, I decided to state what so far I have been shy to express: when we belong to the Constellation we embark on a spiritual journey. Indu once told me: spirituality is reconnecting with oneself and with the communities to which we are linked. Isn’t that what we did during the Chiang Mai Knowledge Fair? And wasn’t our happiness rooted in those connections? When we truly connect for life competence, we are happy. If we are not we should stop and reflect why not. On our journey towards life competence, let us use our collective happiness as our compass.

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Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on February 18, 2009 at 7:42pm
Dear Jean-Louis and Ms. Indumathi,

Your mutual comments and friendship takes me back to July 2008 when JL and I were in Nagercoil. It was Indumathi's birthday and I wished her on the phone with JL sitting next to me. I never thought that you both who were strangers then, would inspire each other (and me!) and become thick pals.

Cheers to you both,

Comment by Indumathi Ravi Shankar on February 18, 2009 at 7:26pm
Thank you JLL for quoting me. I never realised I had made a statement. Its a way of be-ing for me.
Your statement radiates feelings of happiness and brings me immediately into that fold. I experienced this during the two days I spent with all of you at Dakar .
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on February 18, 2009 at 10:34am
A profound insight, Jean-Louis. Its so true what you say "When we truly connect for life competence, we are happy".. I am stressed when negative thoughts creep in and happy when I look at positive aspects of a person or a situation. The title of your blog is very inspiring. I am inspired everytime I read it. Thanks for your sharing.


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