“When the student is ready, the teacher appears” to quote one of the first lines from Be Happy, the book based on Robert Holden’s 8 week happiness programme, I read several years ago. I was living with chronic pain and immobility with little hope of improvement and I didn’t feel ready for anything but I guess if anybody needed help locating happiness it was me. I wasn’t chasing happiness, I had given up on it completely. Happiness shines out from each page of this, and Robert’s other books, which are all written with warmth and humour. I realised for the sake of my family I couldn’t keep waiting for a change to my health to be happy, this moment, after all, should be our focus. Living in the Now and appreciating what I still had were big lessons I knew, but learning how to do this under such difficult circumstances, well, I guess I did need a teacher. I methodically worked my way through the thought provoking exercises in the book and, although some made me cry thinking of things that made me happy in the past that I could no longer do, this book, more importantly made me appreciate what I had left and rediscover the joy in life. Robert has subsequently become one of my idols and I was thrilled therefore to interview him on behalf of The Happy Starfish.
Robert, you have had such a positive impact on my state of mind following my accident, who or what has inspired you?
I have been a student of A Course of Miracles for 18 years. A Course in Miracles is a complete self-study spiritual thought system. As a three-volume curriculum consisting of a “Text”, “Workbook for Students”, and “Manual for Teachers”, it teaches the way to universal love and peace through forgiving others.
My mentor is Tom Carpenter, author of “The Miracle of Real Forgiveness”. The Miracle of Real Forgiveness is about letting go of our misperceptions of who we are and what the world appears to be, and opening our mind to a difference experience we cannot now imagine. While separateness is still our dominant belief, we are actually now in the process of changing that perception. The understanding of a harmony and unity beyond all forms inspires the practice of many levels of forgiveness, leading ultimately to the recognition within each of us a unity that has never changed, but has been hidden behind our present belief.
Wow, that sounds amazing. It must be such a privilege to have helped so many people around the world. What are the most common blocks to happiness you have found?
The search for happiness is the biggest block to happiness. There is a world of difference between searching for happiness and following your joy.
Indeed, I discovered you at a point I was doing neither but your teachings have helped me enormously. You have been working in this field a long time now, does it still bring you as much joy? What is the best part about what you do?
I love the work of The Happiness Project because I know that when people understand true happiness they also spread that happiness to others.
Paying it forward? Hmm I like that idea.
Robert, thank you so much for your time. You can check out Robert’s website here.