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A Place Where Happiness Is Truly Supreme

A Place Where Happiness Is Truly Supreme

Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. — Helen Keller

It would seem that, regardless of emotional and physical hardships, there is a place inside each of us that is essentially happy and free—but we have a tendency to ignore this place, or to think that being happy is dependent on circumstances or fortune.

Some years ago we were in Pondicherry, India, walking through the city as night fell, stepping carefully to avoid rats and dog poo, when we saw two boys preparing for bed, which was on the hard concrete of the sidewalk. What really struck us was how, in spite of their clear hardships, they were laughing loudly and happily.

Then, the other morning when we were going to the gym, we passed a little girl holding hands with her father. The girl was happily skipping along. Obviously, this was because skipping and jumping are expressions of happiness. But it made us think about how we express our happiness once we get to be adults.

For Deb, the little girl skipping “made me remember that when I was little I used to sing to myself. No particular tune or song, but I would often find myself humming or singing without even realizing I was doing it. Ed says I still do that. The interesting thing is that, even though I didn’t have the happiest of childhoods—mother divorced father for cruelty, I was in boarding school from age eight, and so on—there was a happiness inside me that was all mine, untouched by drama, trauma, or circumstance.”

While for Ed, “I used to dance on stage with my sister and brother; we had a whole dance routine the three of us would do together. I come from a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx with a stepmother who made life difficult, but I was always able to find a place to dance. When I danced I was at my happiest, it took me out of my daily reality and was the way I could really express myself. I was even a dancing teenager on television and won the NYC dance championships!”

In the West, we correlate happiness with economic prosperity: the more we have, the happier we are meant to be. As Danny DeVito jokingly said in a movie: “You wanna know what life’s about? I’ll tell you. You accumulate as much as you can and whoever has the most at the end wins.”

But in Bhutan, a small but beautiful country in the Himalayas, squeezed between northern India and China, they determine their country’s wealth by the quantity of Gross National Happiness (or GNH): people’s level of happiness serves as a monitor for the economic and development plans of the country.

Bhutan is not a materially rich country, and life for most people is hard—there were no roads before 1960, they farm the high mountain fields with oxen, and certainly most don’t have central heating or air conditioning. But their happiness is that deep sense of appreciation and inner contentment. This is seen in their sense of community and caring for one another, and their radiant smiles.

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy—because we will always want to have something else or something more. — Brother David Steindl-Rast

Given the current economic difficulties many people are facing, perhaps this is the perfect time to reassess what gives you happiness and how you express it—to reconnect with the inner joy that made you either skip or run when you were younger—for it is easy to forget to be happy. Do remember, unconditional happiness is an inside job. Supreme happiness is within you.


Meditation – The Best Friend You Will Ever Have: A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, on discovering the greatest friend you could have: meditation. Starts October 25 but you can join in and download classes anytime.



Your Body Speaks Your Mind: A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, to learn how repressed, denied, or ignored thoughts and feelings are linked to specific body parts and illness. Starts October 24 but you can join in and download classes anytime.





8 Beautiful Thoughts on Happiness
What Do You Need To Be Happy? (Hint: You Already Have It)
Meditate to Boost Your Self-Esteem

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Ed and Deb Shapiro

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at:


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11:14AM PDT on Apr 5, 2013


10:26AM PST on Nov 11, 2012

As always, a wonderful and gentle reminder, thanks.

10:01AM PST on Nov 11, 2012

great reminder

7:42PM PST on Nov 4, 2012

Thank you.

5:32PM PDT on Oct 27, 2012

I enjoyed your article very much, it was so lovely. I also thank you for the reminder on the importance of gratefulness.

4:00PM PDT on Oct 15, 2012

good reminder

1:31PM PDT on Oct 8, 2012

very interesting

9:08AM PDT on Oct 7, 2012

Its so true we can forget to be happy! & chasing after all the wrong things in life..

Gratitude is the key, thanks! Good post

9:43PM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

Gratitude is the key!

12:32PM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

Good advice, Material things certainly do not always bring happiness. A balanced mind and healthy body, good conscience...I think those things bring us closer to happiness :)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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