November Book of the Month: The Book of Joy

November Book of the Month: The Book of Joy

November Book of the Month: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams

This month, we’re focusing on the power of gratitude—focusing on what “is” instead of what “is not” in our lives. It’s easy to believe that life will be perfect if…If I got that promotion. If I lost those last 20 pounds. If I were smarter or better-looking. What would happen if you accepted who you are and what you have in this very moment? How might things shift?

In The Book of Joy, two Nobel Peace Laureates and legendary spiritual guides—the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu—present an attainable and practical approach to experiencing a more enriching and sustainable life of abundant joy. They assure us that joy is possible for everyone—even in the most difficult circumstances. This joy naturally takes root when we begin to cultivate gratitude, and when we begin to focus less on ourselves, and more on bringing joy to others.

The book is written in three parts. It highlights the two authors’ own stories and teachings about joy, the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness, and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives. Even if you aren’t Buddhist or Christian, this book’s universal truths can bring great comfort and inspiration. There are several helpful meditation practices included at the end. We would highly recommend The Book of Joy to anyone seeking more happiness and peace in a chaotic world.

Need help making the most of your reading? Here are a few questions to ponder while you’re working through The Book of Joy:

  1. In your own words, what is joy? Do you experience it — frequently, on occasion, rarely if ever? What in your life triggers feelings of joy?
  2. One of the shortest answers to attaining joy in a world of suffering is not thinking too much about yourself. What does that mean? How is it possible to step outside of one’s consciousness … NOT to think of the self?
  3. Go through each of the Eight Pillars of Joy — the four of the mind: perspective, humility, humor, acceptance; and the four of the heart: forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, generosity. Talk about what each of those pillars means, personally or generally, and how each contributes to feeling joyful. Or try the opposite: what happens in you don’t incorporate these pillars into your life? How does that “nil” approach detract from experiencing joy?
  4. Have you ever kept your own notebook on gratitude or joy, writing down at the start or end of each day your thoughts about what has made you thankful or joyful? Consider giving this regular practice a try.
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