Happiness Conference Day 1

The best part of the whole day was without a doubt the opening speaker, Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Absolutely brilliant! Such a fantastic sense of humour, fabulous delivery, completely engaging. I’m more inspired than ever to continue my Buddhist journey. When your mind is like a crazy elephant trampling everywhere, what hope have you got of peace and contentment? Totally! Anger and other negative emotions such as my biggie, resentment, taint all our perceptions, leaving very little room for reality, because it is our thoughts that make our world. Tame the elephant, and all will be well! Apparently it is scientifically proven that 30 minutes of meditation practice per day can change your mind for good, along with many general health benefits. “If you don’t stir water, it will  become clear” – sounds much prettier in Tibetan but essentially that’s what meditation is all about. Pascal said, “All of man’s problems arise from his inability to sit quietly in a room by himself”. Food for thought, much!! I just need to figure out how to prolong the gap between one thought ending and another beginning, apparently. Well, I can but try, and we shall see!

Second favourite of the day after Sogyal Rinpoche was comedian and author Ahn Do, who was awesome!! Absolutely inspiring, incredibly moving and hysterically funny, all at once. Loved him!

Peter Singer, one of the world’s leading philosophers and author of The Life You Can Save  was less inspiring. In a nutshell his message today seemed (in my humble opinion) to be that you can buy happiness by donating to charity, and that there is a mathematical equation based on income for the amount you need to give in order to live an ethical life. Although he wouldn’t admit to being happy himself. Apparently that is too “static” a position. And may be interpreted as being “smug”. Hmmm. Not impressed and a small poll of my fellow delegates backs me on this one.

Ita Buttrose was interviewed, which was great, but the following segments were rather serious, which was a bit unexpected at a conference about happiness. Much talk of death and dying, couched in positive terms but not exactly joyous subject matter although worthwhile discussions. I skipped the late afternoon session, which by all accounts was much more upbeat, as it was about happiness in the workplace, and I don’t have one. I opted instead to walk back to the harbour and catch my ferry back to the point, and then went for a long and pleasant walk both before and after dinner.

Would I pay $500 for today? Absolutely not. Did I enjoy it? Very much indeed!! Lots to think about, far more than I’ve written here, and I’m so glad I’ve been given the opportunity to attend. Looking forward to seeing what Day 2 brings!

Not raining! Woot!

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