On the 20th of March, 2016, the International Day of Happiness was celebrated in Zurich. About 40 people attended.
The celebration, on the theme of “How to perfect a sphere of happiness” started with a few holy songs and a musical offering by Nicolas and Melanie Komagata, who played a song from the film “Totoro”. Thomas Pritty gave a representative prayer and Jean read a message from Salvatore.
Noëmie started by reading about the birth of the International Day of Happiness 4 years ago. The day recognizes that happiness is a fundamental human goal, and calls upon countries to approach public policies in ways that improve the well-being of all people, promoting sustainable development and alleviating poverty. The initiative to declare this day of happiness came from Bhutan, which was known to be the happiest country in the whole world, based on the Gross National Happiness Index (GNH).
William read a few passages which came from World Scripture, among which:
“If by giving up a lesser happiness one may behold a greater one, let the wise man give up the lesser happiness in consideration of the greater happiness.” – Dhammapada 290 (Buddhism)
“Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.” Science and Health, 57 (Christian Science)
“Power, wealth, and knowledge, which worldly people ordinarily desire, are not the necessary and sufficient conditions for peace and happiness. True happiness is not proportional to how much property you own, nor is it obtained by multiplying external comforts. The only sure way to obtain genuine peace and limitless happiness is to live for others and give to others with true love; when those deeds go around they will return to you.” (Rev. Sun Myung Moon, June 11, 1998)
Chantal took the podium and based on the title asked: “What does it mean to perfect?” She went on to explain how we have to constantly work on developing ourselves and good habits, we will always come upon obstacles just wanting to knock us down, but we have to be able to overcome these challenges. Then, to the question if we’re perfected or if we are perfecting, we got that it’s a never-ending process, during which there are dangers of encountering frustrations and need to deny oneself.
She shares about the idea of a sphere and how it includes many different things, from an individual sphere to a familial sphere and to a world sphere. There are an infinite number of connections that can be created in that sphere, just as it works in a brain, which can develop an ever-larger number of bonds.
She asked how we can create a sphere of happiness and who can create it. We can only create happiness, true happiness, in the presence of True Love, when aligned with God. We have many methods of creating happiness like having no shade or even declaring “I’m happy to be me”. We need trust, love, forgiveness and repentance for each other and a feedback culture, which allows us to discover oneself and each other as well as overcome limitations. Spending time with people is one of many expressions of love; it allows to create deeper connections and live for the higher purpose of being happy together with God and create “one family under God”.
After the prayer and a moment of meditation, some announcements were given and then everyone got into a circle and shared what they felt on the message.
Theresa shared how we always have a choice to see either the positive or negative points and that the key to happiness is to see the positive points.
Barbara mentioned what a contradiction to happiness it is when dealing with people living miserable lives, like some of the refugees. So she prays for people’s suffering to end.
Salvatore explained how he feels happy when he’s with people and God. The closer and sincere the relationships are, the happier he feels. He said that a saint was a sinner who never gave up.
Martin shared how it's important to be true to one self and to others and to forgive others and trust them.
Jeans explains how creating a sphere of love doesn't happen automatically; it's necessary to invest into things, have a give and take relationship with people, having communication and giving people time.
Eliane shares how every night, before going to bed, she would think of three gratitude points, which helps her feel content. As a schoolteacher, she also feels happiness by teaching the children a sense of value.
Written by William Nguyen