A Journey of Transformation
23 October 2023: People and societies embark on journeys of transformation for various reasons, such as self-realization, achieving goals, adapting to new circumstances, or addressing pressing challenges. The Right Livelihood Program is one such journey designed by the GNH Centre Bhutan as a seven-day international workshop in different locations in Bhutan on deepening the understanding and values of Gross National Happiness as adopted by Bhutan. The workshop serves as a platform for fostering positive change, aligning with the principles of GNH, and promoting a holistic approach to well-being and societal progress. It can be adapted to the specific needs and interests of the participants, whether they are individuals, government officials, community leaders, or organizations.
22 participants from various parts of the world embarked on an experiential journey to learn about the Bhutanese approach to well-being and happiness. It invited participants to shift their perspective from a narrow focus on the economic growth of a nation to a broader and more holistic perspective that prioritizes the well-being and happiness of its citizens, as exemplified by Bhutan's GNH philosophy. It aimed to promote transformation from inner-action to social change and use equanimity as a basis for a healthy inner life and social organization.
The sessions also included cultivating personal and collective happiness skills through mindfulness, compassion and deep listening. Case clinics were included to deepen peer-to-peer support in addressing emerging opportunities and challenges as participants develop their own Right Livelihood plans, projects or prototypes inspired by GNH.
Speaking to Le Tieu who came from Canada she says “I went to Bhutan to attend the Right Livelihood Program with the intention to experience the country, the people, the culture and learn what GNH is all about. After one short week, the valuable lessons and experiences are beyond any expectations I had imagined.”
Similarly, Tania From Australia shared, “This was a life-changing event for me. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you are seeking transformation and a higher state of consciousness”.
The workshop explored GNH as a framework for socio-economic development in Bhutan following GNH principles that affect how Bhutanese society and state interact. It dwells on how Bhutan is assessing policy intentions for the promotion of well-being and happiness. Side events to the program included site visits to the Early Learning School, the National Traditional Medicine Institute, and a community village stay to experience how Bhutanese balance their lives while faced with modernization. Activities like nature solo walk for silent reflection time, self-assessment exercises such as “GNH in my life”, exposed participants to the rich culture and traditional heritage of Bhutan and how Bhutanese people maintain a strong connection to their land and spirituality.
As part of its mandate in advocating for GNH, the Centre offers these programs to the international community who have been intrigued by the original idea of GNH. The Right Livelihood was held from 13th to 18th October, 2023 and led by the GNH Centre Bhutan, with support from local experts - Aum Siok Sian Pek, Dr. Tshering Tempa, Mr. Karma Wangdi and Ms. Lhazin Nedup who attended as key presenters.