When I first signed up to visit Bhutan I had no idea what I was really signing up for. I knew that it was a spiritual and unique country that was a rare gem in an otherwise rocky and cluttered world, yet what I didn’t realize was the profound impact it would have on me.
As we explored Bhutan, learning about their history, religion and cultural belief’s I noticed the differences in our societal values and that of the values missing in our westernized lives. This includes the way we define success and happiness. To many of us money equals success, and happiness is achieved by those who are successful in a financial sense. The Bhutanese people showed me that success is defined by your happiness and that money is not everything. To them the relationships they make with people are more important than their possessions and that to be happy you do not need to have the most.
They are a united and welcoming country both in their beliefs and values. In Bhutan you could knock on anyone’s door asking to stay and be welcomed with open arms. While I’m not saying we should do this in Canada I’ve realized we don’t not share the same sense of community as they do in Bhutan. When I left, I thought a sense of community was something that could easily be found in Canada. I now realize it’s not as readily available as I once believed, and this sense of community is something that I believe our society desperately needs.
Seeing the values the Bhutanese cherish and the way they live their lives every day has changed me in a way that I don’t think any other place could have. I now see the meaning of happiness in a different way and want to live my life like the Bhutanese. By this I mean, not having money, wealth or possessions define my happiness and trying to find and create a deeper sense of community in my everyday life.
As our trip comes to an end, I and the many other wonderful people on this journey with me will keep this and many of the other lessons we’ve learned from the Bhutanese in mind as we go forth in our lives back home.