By Lin Yuting, The China Post
Happiness, writes life coach Frank Ra, is not “a place to reach and blissfully sit there forever.” According to Ra, “if we are concerned only with happiness, we are going to miss it; if we live our lives in ways appropriate [to] the context, we are happy.” Such refreshing aphorisms abound in his intriguing book, A Course in Happiness, Meaning, Motivation and Well-Being.
Ra has coined “AmAre,” a conceptual framework that helps readers to be happier and purpose-driven. AmAre stands for – acronym enthusiasts rejoice – being “aware and accepting,” “meaningful and motivated,” “active and attentive,” “resilient and respectful” and “eating properly and exercising.” The entire book is organized under this schema and expounds on each of these aspects. One of the things that Ra’s book does best is gathering a stirring variety of recent research findings and wisdoms from different philosophical traditions, drawing from physiology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, Buddhist teachings and First Nation wisdom; and upon mentioning each, the book kindly points readers to further readings.
As recorded on his website, Ra came from a small, pristine Italian town. As a youth he read about spirituality, Eastern/pre-Socratic/Latin philosophy and started to practice meditation. He went on to join NATO as a military police officer, and then visited, in less than 10 years, over 30 countries and 80 cities, cultivating personal/professional development in Italy, London, USA, Malta and Estonia. He now settles in beautiful British Columbia.
In the book, Ra’s own voice is particularly adept when discussing social dynamics and offering suggestions for action plans, possibly due to his rich experience in the practical sphere. Regrettably, the book sometimes betrays its origin in blog entries and would benefit from better synthesizing different sources and better integrating philosophical ideas with their everyday implications.
Ra’s book is an open-ended work that demands the readers’ active participation in thought and action. Its mystical and repetitive tone makes it a suitable companion for ongoing reflection. Flip to any section while commuting, for example, and it reminds you of important principles and different ways to examine how well you are living.
Visit www.amareway.org to know more about Frank Ra’s work.