Bhutan – A Country That Measures Happiness
It was the call of Tiger’s Nest Monastery high in the Himalayas that captured my imagination. The country of Bhutan called me for a number of reasons, most importantly, because its gross national product is happiness.
You can’t beat that idea! Bhutan is also a country which blends Buddhism in all aspects of governance and culture.
So far, Bhutan is one of the few remaining countries not to show the wear and tear of tourism. However, chances are that in less than a decade, it will exponentially show signs of an energetic tourist industry and all that it entails.
Traveling Like a Local In Bhutan
I was fortunate to share the bliss of home visits, share meals with local families, cook for nuns in their monasteries, listen to the chants of the monks in temples and participate in several Buddhist festivals.
We slept in tents in a Shangri-La valley, inhaled the distinct flavors of the rich and varied flora and fauna, discovered the black necked Crane. We marveled at the unusual Bhutanese national animal known as the Takin, the largest goat antelope found in the forested valleys of the eastern Himalayas.
Finally, we trekked from an 8,000 ft. altitude up to 12,000 ft. on a very steep path, to Tiger’s Nest Monastery. All the while we were listening to the chants of the monks in the temple.
Down 500 steps, up 300 steps, and we entered a rarified setting where happiness pervaded our souls and gave us the courage to look inside ourselves for answers to our deepest secrets.
I believe that the majority of people fail to look inside themselves and take the time to self-reflect about personal struggles and developing a path to inner peace. If that statement wasn’t true, we would have eliminated violence and cruelty from our world and set our focus on kindness, forgiveness and happiness.
It is difficult to maintain a spiritual path if you look outside yourself for answers, or think that pleasing others is the way to live life. It is then that you are stuck in life’s quicksand, and you may even encounter a downward spiral.
Don’t take that pill! Instead, get to know who you are so you will break your old, tired, negative mental mindset about growing older and finding happiness.
5 Benefits of Travel
I think travel is one of the elixirs for practicing self-reflection and acceptance. Traveling dispels the idea that chronology is important. Travel encourages you to change mental habits and get rid of the negative mindset about age.
Here are 5 joyful benefits from traveling with a focus on cultivating inner peace. You will…
- Be sexy, smart and strong enough to want to compete in a marathon or climb Mount Rainer or walk the steep path to Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
- Get rid of the garbage in/garbage out mindset that places an overabundance of outside stimuli that can sometimes cause confusion.
- Welcome your challenges and fears with open arms.
- Turn the negatives into positives.
- Learn to do something brave at least once a day, and get out of your need to always be in your comfort zone.
One of the more inspirational aspects of my journey was a 92-year-old woman named Annie who came on our adventure. She was up for anything and everything.
Annie was as sharp and as gregarious as a 30-year-old. She probably wasn’t on the most appropriate trip given her age, but you would never know it by her positive attitude toward conquering her fears and embracing the challenge of activities throughout each day.
We all watched Annie with joy, not only because she was taking her 27th trip with the travel company, but also because Annie was a reminder to us all that living with inner peace is a sure path to good health and spiritual happiness.