Manual to Happiness

31 October 2022
A picture of a person wearing sunglasses in front of a graffity wall to show the empowerment of a life well-lived.
By Ben Schoelzel
As the soul and the brain of Samaṇa, Ben focuses on changing his being in the world via a 2-hour daily meditation practice, authentic relating and interpersonal meditation, as well as in an ongoing IFS-practice. He started writing poems in his teenage year and rediscovered his joy for writing with the newsletter and articles for Samaṇa.

Living the dream

When I was a student, I was living the dream: I lived on a shoestring budget in exotic countries, had a lot of leeway over what to do with my time, and a rich social life.

The two best years of my life, before I started work, were my time spent in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Besides the points mentioned above, I also enjoyed ridiculously cheap yet high-quality food nourishing my soul and - when not studying or partying - was outside in nature or exploring tropical cities. In short: it was wonderful.
A picture of two fingers holding a marble with the projection of a nature landscape on it
Instead of travelling the world, we'll travel inside of us to discover the world within

To be a "grown-up"

When I returned to Germany to "be a grown-up" and "serious", my happiness decreased, and my misery went up. Aside from what I wrote above, I realized that having my self-determination taken away, being unable to be a goofy foreigner in Asia but instead having to be a well-adjusted "regular" person, and struggling to see purpose in what I was doing all contributed to me being more and more miserable.

Based on the list above, some of the things that are important for my well-being:
  • have self-determination
  • have nourishing food
  • be in nature / outside
  • feel comfortable being "myself"
  • have purpose

Looking at this list, what comes up for you?

Travel inside to discover the world within

With time passing by I've gotten better at carving out the things that, while not directly making me happy, make me less miserable.
Some part of joining a Samaṇa cohort is spent doing that: instead of travelling the world we'll travel inside of us to figure exactly that out via:
  • improving the relationships we have with others by connecting more deeply and authentically; e.g., via social meditation (circling)
  • becoming better at balancing our emotional needs; e.g., via learning Internal Family Systems
  • being better able to see beauty in the mundane; e.g., via meditation
  • focusing more time on what matters to us - what makes us feel like we live our life well-lived; e.g., working on finding one's purpose.

To lives well-lived

Funnily enough, the more we remove bits and pieces from our live that suck up energy, the happier we become. This allows us to have more energy and confidence to do the things that we deem meaningful, which in turn allows us to live our lives well-lived. It's interconnected: reducing the mundane misery makes us happier, which allows us to let in more of the profound misery that we deem meaningful. That in turn opens up the floodgates to inner peace, struggle that we consider worthwhile, and ultimately spending our lives well-lived.

That's it. That's what we'll embark on with anyone joining Samaṇa. Only working in some of these areas - such as only engaging in emotional healing, e.g., by doing therapy, while ignoring others - is not enough. It's not transformative enough. It sure helps and I'd encourage everyone to give it a try, but when changing things, when really inquiring, it helps to build momentum and be aware of the interdependencies between different facets.
That's why Samaṇa is structured, deep and integral.

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The information in this article is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult a professional for guidance about a specific condition.