By November 17, 2012 Read More →

Wellbeing and Happiness

Wellbeing and Happiness

People everywhere (or certainly at the UN) are desperately trying to find solutions for the track of global demise that we are on. And much of the lead up to Rio+20 by world leaders and representatives from civil society have come to the collective understand (perhaps a first since the League of Nations was convened!) that the old ways just aren’t working anymore. And it’s no longer just NGOs and civil society that is saying it. Governments, economists, business leader and academics are echoing what we (NGOs and faith-based organizations) have been banging into the ears of the governments for more than 30 years. We (people) need to change our whole approach, attitude and vision to a much more holistic one, if we are to address concerns of widespread poverty, and environmental collapse.

Last week, The Royal Government of Bhutan convened a High Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm at United Nations (UN)headquarters in New York. In 1972, the then King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, said – almost flippantly – that Gross National Happiness (GNH) would be a far better way to determine the wellbeing of a country, than Gross National Product (GNP). The assessment of GNH was an attempt to find a way to measure the wellness of a country and the development of its people in more real and holistic, rather than an isolated measure of gross domestic product GDP which – it has been determined – says little about the overall state of a nation and its citizens.

The Prime Minister of Bhutan invited around 300 people from all sectors of society to gather together at UN. He asked us to dialogue with each other to help define and refine the move towards GNH as a new global economic indicator. We divided ourselves into four different conversations: Experts, Academics, Communication and Civil Society (including Faith Leaders).

Each group compiled a report that we gave to the Prime Minister of Bhutan, H.E. Jigme Thinley. He will then present our findings and to the Secretary General who will then distribute it to all the governments at the UN General Assembly in September.

Although this is separate from Rio+20, this report and the conversations it has inspired – that are ongoing – are integral to the development of the conversations regarding Rio. Everyone now is talking about “a new economy” and the need to see things in a much more integrated and holistic way. Not just seeing, but our seeing, thinking and doing has to match this new paradigm.

In the Brahma Kumaris we have been working on developing peace in the mind and happiness in the hearts of people for almost 80 years. Here we have the opportunity to do something constructive that aligns with a global movement towards wellbeing and happiness for all… and making Gross National Happiness the measure of not just our countries indicators, but the measures in our own lives and the lives of those whom we love.

Meanwhile, may our spirits remain peaceful, our minds happy and our hearts full and compassionate.

Tamasin Ramsay PhD
UN Representative
New York

Posted in: Health

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