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By guest blogger Chris Gray

Ananda means extreme happiness, blessedness, bliss. The film FINDING HAPPINESS shows a community of people called Ananda who for nearly 50 years, have consciously taken actions to live blissfully together. They live outside the mainstream in small communities practicing yoga and meditation. To support their community, they grow food, run their own health clinics and schools, maintain water service, electricity, sanitation, roads, and phone lines and they operate many businesses. Living simple lives and supporting each other was their message.

I had heard about this community from a friend who took a retreat there. Although I am pretty open-minded, I had still suspected that there might be a bit of a cult nature to this community. I get suspicious of any organization whose members lose membership if they don’t “behave.” Exclusivity seems related to control, and I like a lot of freedom. I don’t know the exact origins of my suspicion of Ananda, but I’m glad to report that it was dispelled when I saw this movie.

One beauty of film is that it can take you inside a place in a way photos and articles cannot.  This film shows how the Ananda lifestyle is possible, sustainable, and that it can be reproduced. The community isn’t strange or seedy. I would even look into living in the Ananda community under the right circumstances. Seeing life at Ananda is inspiring even if you would not live there.

The film incorporates a storyline, rather than being a documentary, and it was well done. It takes the audience on an enjoyable trip to Ananda where you get to see into actual members’ homes and lives. It delivers more of a detailed access than you would get on a retreat. I left feeing appreciative of what they are doing at Ananda and happy to know of another option for people to find a lifestyle that works for them.

Some may consider this movie a bit of a commercial for this special community. I now want to visit Anada because the solutions they showcase for an alternative way of living really do seem to produce results and connection. Regardless of how you feel about Ananda, it is still helpful and inspiring to see a healthy, loving community of people helping their neighbors, eating locally grown organic food, and participating in spiritual practices like yoga and meditation. Maybe we all could adopt some of these practices if we want to find more happiness.

FINDING HAPPINESS oficial site here.

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