Biography: Diana Stone
Since childhood, my longing has been to understand what really makes people happy in a lasting way, and to see the commonalities between people. I had the good fortune to grow up living in several cultures, primarily in France, the United States and India, and to travel to many other countries.
My first trip to India, straight from a small girls’ boarding school in Maryland, I felt I had landed on another planet. People, squatting on the side of the road, cutting grass with a hand scythe to feed a cow or burn for fuel, were laughing, eyes sparkling as they chatted with their companions. They looked happy, happier than those I had left behind the in US, yet they had so little.
With that first glimpse, I learned to look for joyful eyes, and began a quest to understand the human spirit. This quest led me to seek out the old and content, the wise, the famous, and the simple humble yet joyful person to ask them about their beliefs and the underpinnings of their lives.
I had the second good fortune to be introduced to many people of all levels of society – the very rich, who I played with as a teenager, rulers, and people such as Buckminster Fuller and Reverend Billy Graham. With each I listened for happiness, joy, contentment, and wisdom about life. I did not often find it where I assumed it would be.
Gradually I realized to be stable these qualities had to come from inside of us not from our outer circumstances, and began to study the ways to get them myself. I had spent my college undergraduate years in a cloud of depression, about my own and humanity’s condition. My doctoral program at Union Institute focused on paradigms of thought through the study of native people. After 32 years of practicing and teaching meditation, based primarily in calming the brain and thoughts, I found my way to the heart. I had realized that human purpose must have to do with love, but somehow I ignored that this must have something to do with the heart. When a gentle teacher, Irmansyah Effendi, guided me to be able to feel my heart, I was amazed. Everything that I had been looking for and trying to understand was there.