Defining HAPINESS.

11 March 2021 | beando_admin

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” – Winnie the Pooh

Part of our beanddo Advanced Modern Meditation teacher training we ask our teachers to define the beanddo happiness formula; Ha = Be + DO – I. Here Elizabeth Jones tackles the meaning behind the equation. 

In this essay I will attempt to dissect and define the “Be and Do” formula to make it palatable for the meditation new-comer or student to understand. The Be and Do formula is an equation created by meditation practitioner and teacher trainer, Mick Timpson. During his many years as a yoga teacher and meditation teacher, Mick has delved deep into what it is to meditate, what it means to be happy and studied the pathway to awareness. In an attempt to define consciousness he created the formula which states that Happiness is equal to Experience without Expectation

To understand the formula, first we must explore the various components; happiness, experience (which is defined as the sum of event and action) and expectation. Thích Nhat Hanh, the buddhist monk and zen master, told us that The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” It is this very thought process that is summarised by the equation.

Modern Meditation defines Happiness as being at the core of who we are. It is the idea happiness is our very essence and our very make up. Once we quieten the mind, we can reach this conscious part of ourselves and once we clear through the noise of the day and of our mind we will see it. This school of thought believes that everyone is intrinsically happy. Happiness is essentially joy, and joy is a feeling that is brought about through the process of meditation and by reaching awareness. 

The second part of the Be and Do formula discusses “experience”; experience can be defined as anything that happens in the doing field, in other words, the day to day. Everything that happens to us outside of the now, in the “mind-body” is an object, it is in the doing field. Objects are things such as sensation, sound, breath, thoughts; even emotions can be defined as objects. Through the process of meditation we become a witness, we witness ourselves experiencing, and it is through this very witnessing we have the ability to bring ourselves into the now which is where consciousness resides.

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – The Buddha

An interesting element of the formula is the idea that experience is equal to an event plus action. Breaking this down further; an event is something that happens that you have not done, for example if the wind blew, but an action is something that happens within your mind-body whether consciously or not, for example you heard the wind blow. Events can be passive but passive action is not possible. The Bhagavad Gita states “Nobody can remain passive even for a moment. Everyone is helplessly drawn into action by inborn, natural impulses.” So in the context of the Be and Do formula, an experience is when something external happens and our mind body responds.

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield

The “without expectation “component” is the final piece of the puzzle. The formula states that happiness happens when we experience something without expectation, this is witnessing. The oxford dictionary defines expectation as “A belief that someone will or should achieve something.” It is approaching a task or activity with a predetermined idea of the outcome. Expectation can be the source of much pain and disappointment, when things don’t work out the way we had planned.

By meditating, we first notice where we are, our bodies, and we use this as a tool to be able to look. Once we start to observe ourselves, to see, this is when witnessing happens. This is when we let go of expectation and we can watch ourselves without judgement. By doing this we are able to expand our awareness and to truly see ourselves. 

“…to live is the rarest thing in the world, most people just exist” – Oscar Wilde

If Modern Meditation is to be believed, this is where happiness resides – in true awareness, in flow.

“Flow does not mean we do not work hard for it, but that we enjoy what we are doing and when things don’t happen the way we expect them to, we use flexibility to keep moving forward.

Flow like a river. When a river bumps into rocks, it goes around them. It does not stand there and complain that the rocks are on its way and it did not expect them to be there. If you want to reach faraway places, you need to flow like the river, with acceptance and flexibility. The rock is there, because of a life journey that brought it there. Expressing your unmet expectations will not change its life journey and make it disappear. If you are wise, you might be able to use the rock to your advantage and flow even faster.” Ronit Bara

Find out more about our teacher training programme here.