My name is Paramartha Gallienne, and I have been a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Auckland, New Zealand for the past 14 years. I live outside Auckland on 2.5 acres where it is possible to grow my own fruit and vegetables. I have a passion for the outdoors and love landscaping. I am currently working in an administrative role at the National Hospital. I enjoy international travel and remote places steeped in his history and culture.
What is your definition of happiness?
My definition of happiness would be a true sense of inner peace and personal freedom. Happiness means to me space and silence and the opportunity to read something of a spiritual nature. This usually takes me to a rugged coastal beach with the waves crushing relentlessly where I can just gaze out to sea. Where time is of no consequence and the list of chores are miles away. Happiness to me is feeling a sense of real love for the world and those who share life here.
When do you feel truly happy?
When I feel I have accomplished something – this might be a marathon, or seeing a rose appear from nowhere. I feel a sense of inner joy and happiness when I notice something no one else might that moment. Something I claim as my very own out of the blue. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, something significant to me, like having lunch with a Monarch Butterfly the other day as he swooped around me for 10 mins and flew off.
When you feel unhappy, what do you do to make yourself feel better?
When I feel unhappy it can be a real challenge to find happiness. At times, all I have done it focus on being unhappy and that goes round and round. So what I do now is find “just one thing that I claim as my own”. There are so many examples of this as I play a game each day at finding something during my day that is mine. Meditating on the moon brings joy and happiness and if that is not possible, I stop and listen for a special bird singing maybe way up in the sky. I love the graceful flow of a hawk searching for dinner as he glides through the atmosphere just taking the wind currents as they come. Watching a hawk gliding makes me take stock of how unimportant all the worries in life are and how life is much like the wind currents just flowing up and down. It is all about choices and attitudes so if the hawk wants to go abit faster, he just flaps his wings a little just like we can in life. We can chose to see the good and we can chose to feel the happiness life offers, it is all about looking for those moments.
What people have inspired you in your search for happiness?
There are several historical figures that come to mind but one significant one would be Sri Chinmoy. Just having the opportunity to look at him in a meditative state brings a sense of wonder. He is a true example of someone who is non-judgemental, someone who projects such patience and love for mankind. He has taught me tolerance and how important it is to just keep going. He has given me strength when things get tough to have faith in God’s plan.
How would you go about making the world a happier place?
By encouraging everyone to have a oneness heart – starting with myself! If we all do our little bit in sharing and offering each other oneness that is recognised by another person and soon rubs off to the next person. It doesn’t take much to remember each day to find ways in offering oneness to an individual or a group and when you see their faces, it certainly makes your day. I have practised being more considerate on the roads, letting people in, smiling & thanking those who let me in the traffic queue. It all adds up in offering oneness through the day.
What inspires you about the future?
What inspires me about the future is the opportunity to see the personal growth and changes we are all making towards happiness and inner peace. There is no going back, only development and growth towards recognising that we all want and need happiness. So for future generations to have the opportunity to change the mind set towards happiness will certainly create a world of oneness.
What personal qualities I feel are important in obtaining happiness?
A calm sense of patience – everything now is hard and fast but if we can find moments of silence, simplicity and oneness then I feel each one of us has a chance to feel happiness. If we have a simplistic lifestyle we very often don’t hunger for a lot of noise and this enables us to be more receptive inwardly. So qualities such as patience, oneness, love and understanding for each other all go a long way in supporting a future of happiness.
Your most important life decision in terms of your own personal happiness?
To finally find a resting place in my life of meditation. I spent years searching for something bigger and deeper than the books I use to read offering a beginning and end but with my life now being a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, there isn’t a moment that I feel I have outgrown what I am reading or doing. Being a member of the centre offers a social network where I can mix with those of like mind and lifestyle. It offers guidance with lifestyle choices and the international opportunities are endless. As I live on my own, I don’t find the lifestyle lonely as there is as much or as little to do. I am grateful for being part of an international playing field where there are sports activities, meals to enjoy together and much more.