People should live in connection not just in contact, says happiness guru
His tip for happiness is that "people should live in connection and not in only contact".
Happiness that people experience during their travel to Bhutan is due to measures the country had taken due to their beliefs.
"Our measures of happiness include psychological well being, responsible use of time, health, education, simple living standards, cultural diversity, community vitality, good governance and ecology," said the Happiness Guru of Bhutan Dr Saamdu Chetri, executive director, Gross National Happiness (GNH) Centre - Bhutan, who was in town recently to chair the jury of a Happiness awards event.
On his maiden trip to the UAE, the 60-year-old said: "This is my first trip to the Middle East and Dubai and most probably the last trip because I do not want to increase the carbon footprint and contribute to global warming by travelling around the world just to deliver a 25-minute lecture."
Talking about his experience in the UAE, Dr Chetri said: "There is a sense of harmony in the UAE, in every structure built here, the people are friendly, helpful and positive; they easily communicate with you and the culture of relationship is very strong."
Dr Chetri told Khaleej Times on how instead of focusing only on the materialistic aspect of life, the Bhutan government focuses on the holistic human development and uses measures that balance the material and spiritual needs of the body and the mind."
His tip for happiness is that "people should live in connection and not in only contact". "It is important to be connected to your family, friends and at workplace as well as with nature. Don't live in the past or future, live for today."
He said that Bhutan has one of the most stable ecosystems in the world and has virtually no environmental damage. "This is due to the restrictions on tourism and their protection of natural resources that has let us preserve the beautiful landscape and physical country as well as their cultural identity.
"Bhutan is about 72 per cent covered with forest and 80 per cent of the country is green. Bhutan has this quality of being connected to nature and nature has played a vital part in keeping up the country's happiness factor.
"The world happiness report bases its objectives on this one question of how happy are you with your life. We believe that the answer to this question can vary as per the mood of a person and hence is not a very authentic measure.
"We are all made up of the same elements and, therefore, should not have a dualistic saying this is me and my world and that is you and your world. We must remember that we are connected and are interdependent."
Defining happiness, Dr Chetri said: "We believe that happiness is and should not be related to materialistic things only. We need to look inwards, meditate, be mindful and you will find peace, contentment and happiness. This will reflect in your way of talk, walk and behavior towards others. This sense of calmness, smile on your face is how I would define happiness. You may have had lot of suffering in life but when you accept them, let them go, not compare your life with others."
Dr Chetri who instituted the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Centre in Dewaling, Bumthang, Bhutan in 2011, has now retired and shifted to India for two years. "I now teach Happiness as a subject at IIT, Kharagpur, India. I now aim to work on the thinking process of children so that there can be a transformation in the whole Indian subcontinent."
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