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Engaging from the Heart of Happiness

Engaging from the Heart of Happiness

~ Nnaumrata Arora Singh


"Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a matter of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the Earth, the Earth heals us. No need to wait. As we care enough to take risks, we loosen the grip of ego and begin to come home to our true nature.’"

~ Joanna Macy


Caught in the inertia of hopelessness, after recovering from the paralysis of fear that I had experienced in the midst of setting up an organic farmers’ market and then a community fridge in a metropolis in India, I
stumbled upon Joanna Macy’s book, Active Hope.

In this book, Joanna talks about the two meanings of hope - ‘The first one involves hopelessness, where our preferred outcome seems reasonably likely to happen.’ ‘The second meaning is about desire, knowing what we’d like, or love, to take place.’ ‘Active Hope is about becoming active participants in bringing about what we hope for’. This book propelled me into action, deepening my ability to experience and hold with awareness and acceptance, the ungainly concoction of my varied emotions, hence I would highly recommend it to everyone who wishes to partake in the making of a beautiful new world.

Chris Johnstone, co-author of Active Hope, in his talk titled ‘How Facing Bad News about the World Can Make You Happier’, mentions the fact that there is no need for us to hide from bad news. He offers that ‘it may the very thing that provokes us to act in a way that makes our life more satisfying. There is no
guarantee we will succeed in bringing about the changes we hope for, but the process of giving our full attention and effort, draws out our aliveness.’ While we don't need to fill our lives with bad news daily and only take it in doses we can digest, we do need to find ways of transcending our emotions and moving into action.

Joanna Macy’s book ‘Coming Back to Life’ is a wonderful encapsulation of powerful tools and methods for these times. The spiral that Joanna uses in her book, starting with gratitude, moving on to honouring our pain, to seeing with new eyes and going forth into action, along with the ‘Truth Mandala’ are powerful tools
for anyone seeking freedom from the paralysing emotions of anger, fear, hurt and sadness.

Recently, in a talk on Women’s Day, I shared the ‘Five A Model’, which may also serve as a potent the model for us to step out of our limiting stories into an infinite capacity that can sing to the tune of birthing our New Earth. The five A’s present an opportunity for us to not only deal through the uncertainty of daily life, but also find true, lasting happiness.


The Five-A Model is summarised below:

1. AWARENESS of our true nature of interconnectedness with everything and everyone around us.

Nothing we see, including ourselves exists in isolation. The first drops of water that were present on our planet are still circulating on the Earth and possibly within some of us, as the human body is made of 70 per cent water. In addition, the food we eat, could have been grown on soil that was made from the dust on another continent. We cannot, hence claim to be our separate selves because we all, really, could be holding something of the others’ ancestors. Various DNA experiments have proven this phenomenon as also the fact that we are made of the same material as star dust and hence, connected with our galaxy as well. The moment we realise this expansiveness within us, life opens up a new dimension and we understand that we
are indeed, a part of a larger whole and have a significant role to play in the world.

Spending time in nature and reflecting on the roles various plant and animal species play in the ecosystem help us get closer to this truth.

The German poet Rilke beautifully describes the phenomenon of our interconnectedness in his poem below:

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?


2. ATTUNING to the present moment.

By being able to focus our attention on our breath, we come to realise that the past and the future are merely thoughts and life as we know it, exists only in this present moment. It is this ongoing attuning of our being, through practices like meditation and mindfulness that we are able to experience the richness of life.

Stepping away from the stories of the past and freeing ourselves from anxiety about our future, we get closer to that space within us that exists in the now and that impels us to act with this new found wisdom.

Taking a ten second pause several times a day helps us ground ourselves and come into our ‘beingness'.

The following verse from Rumi invites us to welcome the present moment with all its gifts, just as it is:

This being human is a guesthouse.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and attend them all:
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still,
treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.


3. ACCEPTANCE and GRATITUDE for what is.

One of the strangest yet most intriguing aspects of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's ideas is his repeated enthusiasm for a concept that he called amor fati (translated from Latin as 'a love of one's fate', or as we might put it, a resolute, enthusiastic acceptance of everything that has happened in one's life).

It is only when we stop arguing with our reality and come to accept all that is presented to us in the now, that we come to a state of inner peace.

In her book, "Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life", Byron Katie says “I am a lover of what is, not because I'm a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.”

Taking our acceptance to the point of totality, we now reach the point of gratitude, with the belief that life is happening for us, not to us. Moving from a victim mindset, we are able to comprehend our feelings in a way that empowers us to appreciate our lives and the support we have, no matter how dismal our situation might be.

Instead of living our lives from a space of entrapment, caught in the midst of the overwhelm of the world, if we were to, instead, live from the space of gratitude for everything we are and all that we have, we open ourselves to life’s miracles.

There are many ways of bringing gratitude into our lives. Those who practice gratitude first thing in the morning and end their day with it, report happier and fulfilling lives.

4. ABSOLVING ourselves from the stories that keep us imprisoned in the past and deter us from heading towards our desired future.

Writer and producer of the famous series, Doctor Who, Steven Moffat, said, ‘We are all stories in the end’. We all have, indeed, built our lives on the foundation of our thoughts about our past, shaping our present with our long held beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of doing. The key to stepping outside
of this limiting, self created trap of stories, is simply to let go of, to drop the baggage we are carrying and to welcome the present moment and whatever it brings.

It is only when we let go of what was, that we can welcome what is to be.

Engaging in visioning exercises, regularly focusing on our life’s design, we can bring to fruition the life that we desire, free from the weight of our past and our expectations of the future.

5. ANNIHILATION of our ego.

Albert Einstein referred to our illusory sense of self as ‘an optical illusion of consciousness’. This resonates with a variety of spiritual teachings ranging from Buddhism to Advait Vedanta to many others. The annihilation of the ego starts with the questioning of our reality as we have always known it.

In his book ‘A New Earth’, Eckhart Tolle says, ‘The ego tends to equate having with Being: I have, therefore, I am. And the more I have, the more I am. The ego lives through comparison. How you are seen by others turns into how you see yourself.’ ‘Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them’.

We might make a linkage of this text to the idea of minimalism. The people we know of, who have reduced their possessions, seem to be spiritually evolved. Could it be that they no longer seek to find themselves in the things they possess?

Being of service to people around us or contributing to causes that make a difference to the world can be an effective way freeing ourselves from our ego’s trap, though if done for the purpose of enhancing our social image, it could become another source to fuel our ego.

Holding space for people to meet and share from their hearts is an important and effective way of engaging with our collective being to creating a sense of togetherness, in a world that is becoming increasingly fragmented.

The gradual annihilation of our collective ego is what will ultimately lead us into the heart of happiness so we can birth a new planet.

A case in point is this video on Happiness Circles, a project started in a local community in India, aimed at getting women together in a space created as safe and sacred that allowed for heart felt sharing and fostering a sense of belonging. I encourage each one of us to consider holding space for others around us,
for it is in returning to the comfort offered by our local communities, that Earth’s salvation lies.


If you resonated with this Five-A model, I invite you to join my upcoming course titled ‘Compassionate Earth Leadership’ at the Charter Education Institute, scheduled to release in October 2020. You are welcome to write to me with your questions or comments anytime.

May peace prevail in your heart and on our Earth. Amen.

Copyright Zemyna Foundation March 2020
To be shared further with permission