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.