The quest for happiness lies at the heart of every human life, but the failure to attain it in even the most affluent societies has become a disconcerting fact and a subject of widening global concern.
This year, 2013, happiness has become a topic of great interest to the United Nations and to world leaders. In 2012, the United Nations held a high-level conference, “Happiness and Wellbeing – Defining a New Economic Paradigm”, designed to bring world leaders, experts, civil society and spiritual leaders together to develop a system to place a greater focus on happiness in an increasingly complex and stress-filled world.
The UN General Assembly passed a resolution to have March 20th every year designated as the International Day of Happiness. The United Nations also mandated a World Happiness Report which the Earth Institute of Columbia University prepared. This report shows the state of happiness in countries around the world and reflects a growing and worldwide demand for a more “holistic approach to development” aimed at promoting sustainable happiness and wellbeing.
With the World Health Organisation predicting that by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability throughout the world – trailing only ischemic heart disease – the United Nations has asked the world community to support this initiative to encourage and foster happier societies. At Harvard University the most popular course is on Happiness with over 800 students enrolled!
A newly released audio book, Jewels of Happiness, was recently launched at the United Nations to promote happiness and features readings on the subject from world figures – Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Olympic great Carl Lewis; songster Roberta Flack; legendary bodybuilder and ‘Best Built Man of the Twentieth Century’ Bill Pearl; Guinness record holder for holding the most Guinness World Records, Ashrita Furman; Muhammed Ali’s daughter Khaliah Ali; and actress Judith Light, among many others. Readings are drawn from the late author Sri Chinmoy’s popular book ‘The Jewels of Happiness’ ( see: www.jewelsofhappiness.com).
Auckland’s Sri Chinmoy Centre is supporting this global initiative with a number of happiness-inspiring projects of its own throughout Auckland city. These include:
a) Radio. We have sets of the audio book ‘The Jewels of Happiness’ which features readings from Sri Chinmoy’s writings by seventeen famous people, as mentioned above. Radio stations are invited to choose and to play excerpts from these audio recordings. These have been inspirational and popular overseas, with the free program often including live interviews with our organizers. Information: phone (09) 3093437
b) Posters. We have designed twenty A4 andA3 ‘Happiness’ posters for schools, businesses and community centres around New Zealand – you may like to have one at your place of work to lift everyone’s spirits. These feature quotations on happiness from the writings of Sri Chinmoy – please look at the selection of posters and quotations in this link: Further enquiries, poster requests, phone Ailsa Barker on (09)6244339
c) Meditations. The Sri Chinmoy Centre is also offering a stress-reducing, happiness-themed, free ‘learn meditation’ series of workshops at businesses and places of work. If you have ten or more interested people, we offer lunchtime and early morning course options. Our structured courses introduce key meditation techniques and workplace skills that deal with the topic of inner happiness and have proven very popular throughout the five years this free service has been running. To enquire further, call (09)3093437
d) Schools. Children are our most precious resource, and happy children are more caring and generous, more focused and achieving. Children also love to sing! ‘Jewels of Happiness’ author Sri Chinmoy was also a prolific composer, and a number of his songs about happiness have been compiled into a booklet , ‘Sing Happiness’ – this contains ten simple songs to bring joy and inspiration into our children’s lives. Music teachers are welcome to encourage children’s classroom joy by introducing these simple songs. We are also offering to provide one of our experienced ‘Happiness’ project volunteers
An inspiring website, www.projecthappiness.org gives a further look at global programs in schools to promote happiness among children, part of the growing response to this initiative. A further inspirational website features the Kingdom of Bhutan: http://bhutanakingdomofhappiness.com