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Sadhana Forest Winter 2011

trip to Sadhana Forest in Auroville, India

Last Week at Sadhana Forest

India Auroville, India  |  Jan 16, 2011
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It is the second to last day of the program, which means it’s time for the obligatory self-reflective journal entry. It has been a week of people scurrying to get their projects and papers finished, but we managed to squeeze in some discussions. I’m glad that we left the discussion on happiness until the last week here. I don’t think it would’ve been nearly as influential otherwise. I’ve heard many a time that happiness is a state of mind, but I don’t think I’ve ever understood it. After 3 weeks of simple living in Sadhana and hearing the life perspectives of the many good people I’ve met here in India, I think I’ve got a better grip on the state of both happiness and accountability.

At this point in my life I am trying to decide between many things: what job to pick, whether or not to go to grad school, how to pay of my loans, where to live, etc. The magnitude of choices I have to make in the near future is daunting. I, like most college grads, am anxious about my ability to choose correctly. After our discussion, though, my stress level has somewhat decreased (although the incredible amount of decisions are still there, staring at me). I believe that certain situations produce conditions that are more conducive to happiness. That being said, anyone can be happy in any situation. Happiness is not based on external factors; everyone has the potential to be happy.

Why is it that the luckiest man in the world may be less satisfied with his life than someone more disadvantaged? Some may say greed, laziness, cultural/socioeconomic differences, outside influences (like family trouble) etc., and these are things that make man #1 more likely to be happy, yes. But it is up to him to accept his life and be happy with it, hence why man #2, who has less but has allowed himself to be happy, is satisfied with his life. 

So, maybe I have to take a boring desk job or I take a year off to get my ducks back in their row. I can be OK with that. I can be happy with that.

I will strive to have the most fulfilling life that I can; but if plans go awry, and if I continuously remind myself that my happiness comes ultimately from myself, I may save myself from a lot of indecision, regret, yada yada.

The other part of life that I have come to understand a bit more is accountability. Over the past few years, I’ve adopted a fairly pessimistic view of where our world is headed. Although I wanted to “make a difference,” I didn’t know how. I thought that my own actions would be too small in the grand scheme of things. It wasn’t until I heard the story of the hummingbird that I felt I could appreciate the effort of one person (for the sake of a short blog post, I won’t post it here, but you should look it up). One person cannot, in fact, completely change the world. You can only do your best. Make a better life for the environment, for yourself, for your community, for another person. If 10 years down the road I can still honestly say “I’m doing what I can,” I’ll still be happy.

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