Radical Happiness: Transforming Your Life by Transforming Your Mind
Meditation Retreat with Erric Solomon
What is Radical Happiness?
Everyone wants to be happy and live a meaningful life, yet the way we usually go about it can only bring a very temporary happiness at best and, at worst, leads to extreme dissatisfaction and suffering. By making a slight but radical shift in the way we live our lives, a subtle sense of satisfaction and well-being can be ours even when things really aren’t working out. Most us look for happiness in circumstances and possessions, yet both the world’s great contemplative traditions and modern science tell us that circumstances contribute very little to our sense of contentment.. The root of happiness is not to be found in our circumstances but in how we relate to them.
Lots of people hear that and say, “Duh! Of course happiness can’t be found in material possessions or by simply creating the right circumstances. If you’ve read a Hallmark Greeting Card you know that.” But if we take a careful look, with an inquisitive mind, into how we actually spend our time, it will reveal that secretly most of us behave as if we do really believe that circumstances and things are the key to happiness.
And that is a conundrum: what we know to be true and how we’re behaving are out of sync. Some investigation is called for. In order to make a slight but radical shift in our life, we need to look closely at how we usually go about finding happiness and see what the issues are. And we need to really test our hypothesis: we won’t find happiness in situations and things, but we behave as if we will, day in, day out, most of the time.
Radical happiness can emerge naturally when we become used to remaining in the present moment and during moments of kindness and compassion. Radical happiness doesn’t mean that we are in a blissed out state of denial about all the crap. Radically Happy people experience sadness, and disappointment. But those feelings don’t overwhelm the subtle sense of well-being that permeates the mind of a radically happy person.
So what do we have to do to learn to be radically happy?
slightly shift our way of relating to ourselves, and
slightly alter how we relate to the world around us.
It’s true that Buddhism speaks mostly about enlightenment. But without a solid foundation of contentment, basic sanity and a decent self-image, you can’t flourish in life—either as a spiritual practitioner or as a practitioner of daily life. Not everyone wants to become a Buddhist, but doesn’t everyone want to be able to flourish and enjoy what life has to offer? We all want to be able to cope, without totally losing it when things don’t work out. And that last point is the heart of what Radical Happiness really is. It’s a subtle sense of well-being we can always access, especially when things are not so great.
This program has been carefully developed over several years by Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon. Drawing on their own personal experience both as happiness practitioners and teachers, this seminar will benefit anyone who is struggling to keep a balance in life between work and family, coping with the fast pace of daily life a career and at the same time aspiring to flourish and grow: intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
We will begin after a light supper at 6:30 PM on Friday evening followed by an evening talk and a short meditation session. Saturday will include a full program of teaching alternated with meditation sessions and question and answer/discussion periods beginning at 9 AM. On Sunday, a teaching session is scheduled for the morning beginning at 9 AM and meditation and discussion sessions will take place before lunch. The program will conclude after a final teaching and question and answer session in the early afternoon.
Biography: Erric Solomon
Throughout his career as a software expert and technology executive, and now as an author and innovative meditation teacher, Erric has been helping people learn to meditate in a variety of contexts for more than 25 years. He has been an invited speaker leading seminars and retreats in Corporate settings—such as the World Bank and in Silicon Valley—prisons, Temples and Buddhist centers across the US and Europe.
Erric has been studying Tibetan Buddhism for more than 30 years with some of the most accomplished meditation masters of these times. His main teachers are Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Sogyal Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche.
In 2006 Erric participated in a Three Year Buddhist Retreat at the Lerab Ling Monastery in France. Following the retreat, in 2009, he became an Executive Director of Rigpa International, one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist organizations in the world. He directed the Department of Educational Resources and played a key role in curriculum development especially with regard to on-line study programs. Under Sogyal Rinpoche’s guidance, he led the development of What Meditation Really Is, a new dynamic approach to Buddhist meditation.
While developing the course, Erric attended meditation courses and talks given by many popular meditation teachers and organizations— secular, Hindu and Buddhist. He also, began teaching meditation classes in New York City mostly to young urban professionals. During this time Erric met many people who were hungering for a new narrative for their lives: a life based on kindness and caring while pursuing a demanding career and raising a family yet, free of the aggression, competition, and the compulsion to acquire lots of stuff that is all too common in every day life. He also saw that the traditional Buddhist ways of presenting these ideals were too big a jump for most people, yet secular presentations of the same material were so watered down that they offered the possibility to realize only a small fraction of the potential of meditation practice.
Since early 2014, Erric has been collaborating with Phakchok Rinpoche to develop the Radical Happiness book, programs and explore ways of communicating the principals of Buddhism outside of a traditional Buddhist context.
Erric lives with his wife and a whole lot of feral cats in Bernis, a picturesque village near Nimes, France.