The ultimate source of happiness is within us. Not money, not power, not status… We must look inside.
— Dalai Lama
I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness. What is happiness, and where does one get it*? That must be one of the most-frequently asked — in silence or out loud — questions in life. Yet, I wonder how many have actually found the answer — and are living in joy, truly.
Any notion I had of happiness left the building 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with clinical depression. When it comes to happiness, D does not discriminate — she will have your cake and eat it (b*tch!). She robs you of happiness past (along with your precious memory), and deprives you of any feelings of mirth while you’re afflicted — and possibly for many more years after you’ve recovered. I’m pretty certain this is why, now that I feel like a person again, the search for happiness, inner peace and the meaning of life, all that spiritual jazz, has sort of become my raison d’etre.
Here’s what I’ve observed: It’s easy to confuse a smile or laughter with happiness. It’s so deliciously tempting to believe everyone (other than you) is experiencing joy and happiness from the look of their curated-to-perfection Instagram feed (news flash: Real life is not perfect — and that, whether you can believe or understand it or not, is the beauty of it). And let’s be honest, it also takes will power to not undermine or dismiss someone’s pain
because she looks like she has it all. You think just because she’s Gwyneth Paltrow, she has no right to be sad or any good reason to cry herself to sleep at night? Come on.
I have yet to find my answers or any form of enlightenment on the topic yet, but I know that comparison is 100 per cent not it. In fact, comparison is the opposite of happiness. If comparison were Spain, happiness would be New Zealand. If Kanye were to play Comparison in a musical, Taylor would be cast as Happiness. You get the drift.
In his new book, The Book of Joy, the Dalai Lama says: “The ultimate source of happiness is within us. Not money, not power, not status. Some of my friends are billionaires, but they are very unhappy people. Power and money fail to bring inner peace. Outward attainment will not bring real inner joyfulness. We must look inside.”
Find out who you are, and be the person you (not your mother, not your boyfriend, not even Beyoncé) want you to be. And then stop giving a f*ck what other people think.
Maybe life would be much simpler if money could buy us happiness. But it would also be meaningless, and very soon, forgotten and obsolete like that seasons-old Coco de Lait
Chanel bag that has ended up in the back of your closet or on your Carousell account. Nothing worth having comes easy. The pursuit of true happiness requires hard work and commitment. It takes time, maturity, and quite often, pain and suffering. It’s kind of a package deal, you know, like Taytay’s heartbreaks and Grammy accolades.
But here’s the thing: If you have a real desire to be happy — like, smile-in-your-liver happy, there are tools to get you there. Yoga, meditation, goop-approved diets, journaling, daily affirmations, and Reiki are a few you already know of. Light therapy is another. Have you heard of PandoraStar? I was recently introduced to it by my friend, Angela Flame, who is a healing specialist. (If her name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s a former DJ well-known in the techno music scene before she discovered her true calling — to heal and help people). I tried it. Our intern, Terri, also gave it a go. And we were both pretty intrigued and delighted by the experience.
So, what is it, what exactly does it do, and can it really help us in our pursuit of happiness? Angela sheds light on the PandoraStar therapy when we dropped by La Source Spa — where the it is available a la carte or as part of a spa treatment — to find answers.
*Nope, you won’t find it at Net-A-Porter. Sorry, darling.
What is PandoraStar?
In short, it’s a powerful deep-trance meditation machine.
Can you elaborate?
See the 12 LEDs that form a star on the device? The machine is programmable to access any frequency state from 0.1 Hz to 200 Hz. When turned on, the LEDs, in tandem with an integrated microcontroller technology, emit a sequence of kaleidoscopic light patterns that stimulates various brain regions by focusing rays of light on the retinas, thus guiding your brain to experience positive states of brainwave activity.
One more time in English please
Well, in layman speak, the lights are configured to feed your mind with positive energy which, in turn, sends positive signals to your body during the treatment. It takes you deep into meditation zone without having to consciously take yourself there. When you’re in the zone, that’s where healing and subconscious reprogramming take place.
What can it help us with?
Stress relief, anxiety, insomnia, jetlag, higher cognitive function and greater mental clarity. Anything that has to do with the brainwaves that we can access can be treated — stimulate or reduce the appetite, the same with libido, and we can also help people with ADHD. Right now, I’m exploring programmes that could possibly be used to treat our skin. Something anti-aging, perhaps. 😉 (We can’t wait!)
The lights stimulate the pituitary gland in your brain to release feel-good hormones or endorphins.
Just come in, put your headphones on, close your eyes and relax. The machine will do the work — stimulate the pituitary gland in your brain to release feel-good hormones or endorphins. The cool thing about the experience is, you will “see” psychedelic displays of colours and shapes as if you’re immersed in a really bright kaleidoscope. And because each brain perceives the frequencies differently, everyone will have very different experiences. You might also experience it differently each time depending on your state of mind.
How long is each session?
It depends on what each person needs. But for it to be effective, I’d recommend at least 15 minutes, up to half an hour. People usually feel immediate effects from the treatment, but for deeper healing, it would be good to have at least one session per week.
And we can do it with a massage?
Yes. We have partnered up with La Source Spa to make the PandoraStar therapy even more relaxing and enjoyable. You’ll always feel better when you’re relaxed, so this is a great way to conclude a good massage or facial.
So, there you have it. It’s probably going to take us a long, long time to find the true meaning of happiness and reach Nirvana. Until then, maybe this could light the way. 🙏
Photography & Styling: Karman Tse // Additional reporting by Terri Teo