mai pen lai


I have been reading The Geography Of Bliss by Eric Weiner recently and I find it very entertaining, I simply love it. The book is about Eric’s search for happiness in some of the happiest countries in the world, and occasionally the unhappiest! Here is a short extract from when he was on the quest for happiness in Thailand:

How can you pick up something new—a new career, a new relationship, a new outlook on life—without first letting go of the old? It’s like trying to pick up a bag of groceries when your hands are already full. Most likely, everything comes crashing down, and you are left empty-handed.

For Thais, happiness is the art of mai pen lai which means and i’m quoting: “a real just-drop-it-and-get-on-with-life “never mind”. Those lines left me wondering about the number of times we kept on holding on to matters of the past?! To things or feelings that are no longer present, giving them the power to overshadow our existence?! Wouldn’t it be better if we summon our will to let such sentiments flit about? To empty that compartment of emotions so it can be filled with novel experiences? To, yes, learn from the past but allow it not to control our future?

If only we can muster the art of “never mind”, the art of let-go-and-move-on. It may not grant us Thai happiness but it can surely bestow some peace of mind upon us.

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