An eight-day workshop on ‘Unleashing the power for continued happiness and prosperity’ is underway in Tsaluna, Thimphu. The workshop began from October 3.

Organised by the Institute for Wellbeing, the workshop is designed to facilitate self-exploration about the basic human aspirations and their fulfilment through development of right desires, thoughts and expectations, and having mutually fulfilling behaviour and mutually enriching work.

The participants will explore the true understanding of happiness and prosperity, which requires ‘right understanding within’, right feeling in relationship with other human beings, and physical facilities.

The workshop also aims at developing greater awareness of participants’ desires, thoughts and expectations to develop the ability to evaluate based on what is naturally acceptable to them.

Executive director of Youth Development Fund (YDF), Dorji Ohm, said that she did everything that was common to all, such as going to school, studying hard, serving parents and the country, getting married, and raising children. “But I asked myself whether life has only this much to offer. There must be more to life. I thought about it a lot and went in search of it. I found the answer in a very simple little book about universal human values, which was a compilation of a lot of hard work and research.”

Citing the example of Gakidh Village and rehabilitation centres, she said that most of the programmes under YDF comes into effect only after things have already happened, such as the youth leaving their villages to go to urban places and indulging in drugs and alcohol.

“If we need good water downstream, we have to take care of it upstream, so we looked at how we can go upstream,” she said. She added that the reason for looking into human values is that if an individual could work within herself or himself, then there would not be a problem. “We would really like to see Bhutan that truly believes in Gross National Happiness.”

Ganesh Prasad Bagaria, a resource person, said that human beings have been trying to find something from time immemorial. “Many a time you tried to find something which you are not clear about. Then we thought of many ways of meeting this.”

He said that the question of what human beings really want has to be explored and investigated “Once we know what the basic desire as human beings are, we should think of how we can achieve it.”

Dasho Pema Thinley said that human beings should live with values, which is living with an understanding with human beings as we are. “Human values mean understanding what is important for us as human beings and how do we achieve that.”

Ganesh Prasad Bagaria said that everyone has the capacity to explore and investigate these questions. “Each of us as human being has the desire to know by process of self-exploration and self-investigation.”

Tenzin, who has been attending human values workshop since 2012, said that such workshops have helped him understand how to live in a harmonious relationship with his family. “All of us have the same intention – being happy. If we see a person happy, we are happy too.”

He said that through the workshops he understood that most of the time human beings are searching physically for what the soul needs, which is why there is no continuity of happiness and prosperity. “Continuity will be there if our soul looks for what the soul needs.”

Another participant, Srijana Ghalley, said that before she attended the workshop, she had misunderstood happiness as that which originates from materials outside of self. “Now I understood that the one who wants happiness is not the body but the self.”

And she added: “I had only thought of changing others. In the middle of the workshop I realised that I need to change first.”

Karma Cheki