Session 1: The Search for Happiness

Follow up resources for participants.

Discussion questions to reflect on

1A:

  • What games or activities did you enjoy as a child?
  • What were your favourite sweets or meals as a child?
  • What part of the world did you grow up in and what was it like?
  • What other ideas or questions strike you from this part of the film?

1B:

  • What do you think people are looking for most in their lives?
  • What is happiness? Is it possible to find?
  • If you knew the world was going to end in one hour, what would you do?
  • What other ideas or questions strike you from this part of the film?

1C:

  • What helps you to relax and de-stress?
  • What advice would you give someone who says they are too busy?
  • How would you cope without your mobile phone or the internet?
  • What other ideas or questions strike you from this part of the film?

Other reading to reflect on:

KEY PASSAGES FROM THE FILM

1A – “The impossibility of sitting still”

There is a restlessness in every human heart. It’s good to acknowledge it now and then. We’re searching for something. We’re made for something more. It doesn’t mean I need to pack up my bags and walk out the door: probably not a good idea. But at least I can give myself permission to listen to the deepest longings of my heart and ask the question: What am I really searching for?

1B – “What is happiness?”

How do you know what’s really important to you? One simple way is to look in your diary, and then in your wallet. What have you spent your time and money on over the last week? It tells you a lot about your priorities and what you think is the meaning of your life.

What are we looking for? What is happiness? I don’t think there’s a simple answer. And perhaps if we think about it too much it tends to disappear. Edith Warton said: “If only we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time”.

But imagine if you only had one hour left, or one week. What would you do? Who would you call? Where would you go? And when you get your answer, it’s still worth thinking: Is that it? Or is there something more?

1C – “How to press the pause button”

But people are searching for more than rest or relaxation. There is a real hunger for stillness and silence, to step back from the rush of life and make space for reflection. It’s a human need; I’d even call it a spiritual need.

How can you create little moments of reflection, desert moments, when the kids are screaming and you’ve missed the latest deadline at work? I really need one or two moments of stillness and silence each day, however brief. A little bit of quiet in the morning before I check my phone for messages; a brief pause before the next meeting; a short prayer at the end of the day. The poet TS Eliot said that there are some things we can only hear “in the stillness between two waves of the sea”.