The Book of Joy : His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams.
For 2022 I chose the word Joy to be my word for the year. When I saw this book I thought it was required reading. Several bloggers have expressed interest in knowing more about this book so I thought I would post a review.
In April 2015 Desmond Tutu travelled to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala ,India to celebrate His Holiness’s 80th Birthday. Doug Abrams had previously collaborated with Desmond Tutu. He is an author , editor and literary agent. He works with people who are creating a wiser and healthier world. The Dalai Lama and The Archbishop spent five days talking and discussing the theme of Joy and how can we bring it into our lives.
This is a fascinating book full of thought provoking ideas from these two thinkers.I describe them at “thinkers” because they both spend time everyday in prayer and meditation. This is the time they ponder the bigger questions in life such as: “How can we find joy in the face of life’s suffering?”
The book lays out the obstacles to joy in separate chapters: 1.Fear, Stress, Anxiety. 2.Frustration and Anger. 3.Sadness and Grief 4.Despair.5.Loneliness. 6.Envy. 7.Suffering and Adversity. And lastly, 8.Illness and Death.
The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu have had all of these obstacles to joy in their lives. The Dalai Lama had to flee his homeland in Tibet to escape the Chinese,who had overtaken Tibet, and threatened his life. He now lives in exile in Dharamsala India.
Desmond Tutu was a leader in the quest for justice and racial reconciliation in South Africa. He led the way, as the Chair of the Truth and reconciliation Commission, and he found a new way for countries to move forward after experiencing civil conflict and oppression. Even as he came to Dharamsala he was struggling with cancer.
Neither of these people take joy for granted.
The second part of the book details the Eight Pillars of Joy.
1.Perspective 2.Humility 3. Humor 4. Acceptance 5. Forgiveness 6.Gratitude 7.Compassion 8. Generosity
The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu talk about their life experiences and give us stories that show us how they arrive at joy. They are both humorous, and also very touching stories, that let us know that both have experienced hardships and trials.
At the end of the five days the Archbishop has to leave . We know that these two dear friends will not meet again and they both know it too. I found myself almost in tears as I read the final pages . It was as if I had come to know them both well .
The final part of the book is “Joy Practices”. There is a morning intention setting and then meditations to overcoming the obstacles to joy. Then meditations to cultivate the eight pillars of joy. Although I do not usually meditate I did work through several of these and found them very helpful.
The most important lesson I learned from this book is that joy lies within us. We must practice finding it every day.
The ultimate source of happiness is within us.His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The photo below is of the two dancing on the Dalai Lama’s birthday. As a Tibetan monk the Dalai Lama has taken a vow not to dance .But on this day, encouraged by the Archbishop , he got up and began to dance for the first time in his life.
He started to sway and rock his hands back and forth. At first as uncomfortable as a middle school boy on the dance floor, the Dalai Lama started to smile and laugh as the Archbishop encouraged him. They took each others hands and moved to the music, celebrating the true joy of friendship , the true joy of our unbreakable connection to one another, the true joy of the world coming together as one.Doug Abrams the Book of Joy