The only Possible Transformation
The common question that pollsters ask to assess happiness is about the
degree of satisfaction of those polled with their own existence: "In a scale
of zero to ten, how do you feel in life?" To the frustration of romantics
and idealists, money weighs a lot in this important assessment. According to a
survey in 43 countries, carried out by the Pew Research Center, a think tank in
Washington, the average happines is higher in rich countries and decreases,
country by country, with the per capita income of their people.
So, not surprisingly, social revolutions–radical reforms–always aim at
securing the community widespread opportunities in education, health protection, security
and employment, the basic social needs that can be straightforwardly provided
through money. Such intentions are perfect and honest, but... Can governments
warrant happiness to its citizens? Could they alternatively increase their
Some states manage to distribute the 'financial happiness' without
resorting to despotism–the Nordic countries are the admirable examples–but,
when economic resources are split by force, the failure of social equalizing is
so sinister that it pushes happiness downhill and the collective discontent
upward to intolerable heights.
'Happiness' is an indeterminate word–acquisitions, exclusions, wins...–
Instead, inner harmony, the internal state that allows us to be at peace and
act calmly, even in the midst of difficulties, is a clearer expression, though
ineffable and tenuous
Inner harmony does not come from the satisfaction of cravings, the
elimination of what we dislike, or the triumph of parties or sects. The
transformation of internal states must be 'my' transformation and cannot rely
on external stuff, namely acquisitions, exclusions or victories. The personal
'revolution' must not pursue happiness as averaged by the Pew Research Center
but instead it should open spaces for inner harmony to come to us
How do we open the door for inner harmony? In some fortunate beings their
inner harmony is so natural that they do not seem to even be aware of it.
Krishnamurti, the Indian sage, said that truth–inner harmony in my
interpretation–"has to be found through the mirror of relationships,
through the understanding of the contents of our own mind, through
The task would be that simple if our mind were not so disperse and
distracted that it does not even notice what is going on within it. Mindfulness
meditation is the exercise that we, ‘non-krishnamurti' common mortals, should
practice to appease our minds and stimulate the permanent observation of our
life as it unfolds. Mindfulness meditation is like a log of wood with which we
keep the door of our mind open for inner harmony to inadvertently enter.
The eradication of cravings, aversions and biased views is the only
transformation over which we have control. Anything else is minor adjustments.
"Don’t desire anything and you’ll be the richest man in the world,"
says Cervantes. The sum of millions of
isolated real personal transformations might be a viable alternative for a
major social revolution that were not to depend on political groups or
religious sects, and, yes, it would increase ‘standard’ happiness. In this movement
with no campaigns nor votes nor commies nor faith followers, each person would
be a weaponless soldier.
Mindfulness meditation is the only ‘artillery’ which everyone has to
undertake this challenging cause. The appropriate question, however, is not
whether societies or nations will ever achieve victory in this one-by-one
crusade; nobody would know. The right question to ask is a straightforward, different
one: "Will I win my battle and eliminate the roots of my anxiety, my
stress, my disharmony?" For such query, only I have–only you have–the
Atlanta, December 4, 2014