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The Spirituality of Joy

What are these men grinning about??

I recently finished reading The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams. The book's subtitle summarizes what's inside: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. I loved the book and recommend it unconditionally.

In addition to being two of the most important spiritual leaders in the world, Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama are long-time friends. Tutu and Abrams travelled to India to spend nearly a week with the Dalai Lama. Over the course of many hours, Abrams interviewed the two men on the subject of joy and happiness:  what they are, how they're possible in today's world, and what we can do to cultivate them. 

I won't try to summarize the book because I hope you'll decide to read it. But I will say why I think it's a spiritual classic: in addition to being beautifully written, The Book of Joy tells the story of two friends — from different religious/spiritual traditions — spending time together. Along the way, the book conveys their deep insights on the subject of happiness.

Here's a sample quote from Archbishop Tutu:

Discovering more joy does not save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreaks without being broken.

I have no precise or perfect definition of wisdom, but I know it when I see it, and this book is chock full. The Book of Joy will be the first offering of a new book group for women that begins soon (see below).

May we all find a greater measure of joy and happiness in 2018.


The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu will be the first selection for a new women's book group sponsored by Center for Spiritual Wisdom. The group will meet once a month on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. (exact location in Brevard TBD).

The group will be limited to 12 participants to give everyone a chance to participate in discussions. If there is sufficient interest, two groups may be formed. There will be no charge to participate, but thank-offering donations will be accepted.

This group will launch in just a few weeks, so please contact organizer Janet Grey as soon as possible if your're interested. Janet's email address is
Thank you, Janet,
for taking this on!



Center for Spiritual Wisdom is happy to announce plans for a pilgrimage to Italy in 2019 to follow the Way of St. Francis.
Instead of a group tour, this will be a contemplative-paced retreat on the move. With the strong response to our upcoming pilgrimage to the Holy Land, we decided to choose the next destination as soon as possible.
CSW Director Rob Field is arranging with St. Francis Pilgrimages to design a 2-week pilgrimage that will begin in Rome and proceed to Assisi and the surrounding region. For those who want to make a deep dive into the life & teachings of a saint who continues to inspire millions, this will be a transformative experience.
Tour manager Bret Thoman is a third-order Franciscan, travel guide and author of recent books on St. Francis and St. Clare. He has organized and directed pilgrimages for 15 years. We're looking forward to this one already! Watch for additionl details in upcoming editions of our e-news.

For most of us, dreams are an undiscovered country. We spend a third of our lives sleeping and dreaming, but usually leave unexplored the meaning of our dreams.

A new dream group, co-sponsored by the Center and Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, will give participants a chance to delve into the rich wisdom of their dreams.

The group will meet on Wednesday evenings from April 4 to May 30 at the Lutheran church (22 Fisher Road, opposite Ingles in Brevard). Each session will begin at 7:00 and end by 8:30 p.m.

The group's facilitator will be Dr. Vance Reese, who has been trained and certified in dream studies by the Haden Institute in Flat Rock, N.C. Reese, who teaches music at Brevard College, will be assisted by Hans Schmidt, an advanced student in dream studies at Haden. Group sessions will include instruction and demonstrations to assist those who are new to dream interpretation.

There is no cost for the series, but participants may choose to donate to Center for Spiritual Wisdom. To reserve a space in the group or learn more, please contact Vance Reese at


 • Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Asheville will offer a day-long workshop on Saturday, March 3. The title: “A Question of Identity: How Answering the Question of ‘Who Am I?’ Brings Power, Purpose, and Peace Into Our Lives.” The fast-paced, interactive workshop will be led by Amazon-best selling author Randy Siegel. Click here for a flyer with further details and registration information.
• Movies & Meaning Festival coming to Asheville April 26-28! Authors Alice Walker and Brian McLaren will be keynote speakers at the festival in Asheville. If those two names aren't enough to entice you, here's a link to the festival's web site, where you can register and learn more.

Thank you kindly

Our end-of-year matching campaign raised more than $8,000 in donations to help us cover operating expenses. Kind thanks to all who contributed.


Copyright © 2018 Center for Spiritual Wisdom, All rights reserved.

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