Lessons from: “The Book of Joy”

I am taking a step away from positive interventions to highlight some quotes from “The Book of Joy: Lasting Hope in a Changing World,” a new book authored by The Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams. The book is divided into three sections, The Nature of True Joy, The Obstacles to Joy, and The Eight Pillars of Joy. 

Compassion

  • “Too much self-centered thinking is the source of suffering. A compassionate concern for others’ well-being is the source of happiness.” – Dalai Lama.
  • “I mean simply to say that ultimately our greatest joy is when we seek to do good for others. It’s how we are made. I mean we’re wired to be compassionate.” – Archbishop Tutu

Hope and Optimism

  • “When bad things happen they become news, and it is easy to feel like our basic human nature is to kill or to rape or to be corrupt. Then we can feel that there is not much hope for the future. All these things happen, but they are unusual, which is why they become news. There are millions and millions of children who are loved by their parents every day. Then in school their teachers care for them… Then in the hospital, every day millions of people receive immense caring. But this is so common that none of it becomes news. We take it for granted.” – Dalai Lama
  • “Many people think of suffering as a problem. Actually, it is an opportunity destiny has given to you. In spite of difficulties and suffering, you can remain firm and maintain your composure.” – Dalai Lama
  • “Sometimes we get too angry with ourselves, thinking that we ought to be perfect from the word go. But this being on Earth is a time for us to learn to be good, to learn to be more loving, to learn to be more compassionate. And you learn, not theoretically. You learn when something happens that tests you.” – Archbishop Tutu

Perspective

  • “For every event in life there are many different angles. When you look at the same event from a wider perspective, your sense of worry and anxiety reduces, and you have greater joy.” – Dalai Lama
  • “So many people seem to struggle with being kind to themselves. This is really sad. You see, if you don’t have genuine love and kindness toward yourself, how can you extend these to others? We must remind people, as the Archbishop has said, that basic human nature is good, is positive, so this can give us some courage and self-confidence. As we said, too much focus on yourself leads to fear, insecurity, and anxiety. Remember, you are not alone. You are a part of a whole generation that is the future of humanity. Then you will get a sense of courage and purpose in life.” – Dalai Lama

Humor

  • “It is much better when there is not too much seriousness. Laughter, joking is much better. Then we can be completely relaxed. I met some scientists in Japan, and they explained that wholehearted laughter – not artificial laughter – is very good for your heart and your health in general.” – Dalai Lama
  • “When we learn to take ourselves slightly less seriously, then it is a very great help. We can see the ridiculousness in us… The humor that doesn’t demean is an invitation to everyone to join in the laughter. Even if they’re laughing at you they’re joining you in a laughter that feels wholesome.” – Archbishop Tutu

Acceptance

  • “Why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied? And what is the use of being unhappy if it can not be remedied?” – Shantideva
  • “We are meant to live in joy. This does not mean that life will be easy or painless. It means that we can turn our faces to the wind and accept that this is the storm we must pass through. We cannot succeed by denying what exists. The acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can being.” – Archbishop Tutu

Gratitude

  • “Every day, think you as you wake up, I am fortunate to be alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it.” – Dalai Lama
  • “It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It is gratefulness that makes us happy” Every moment is a gift. There is no certainty that you will have another moment, with all the opportunity that it contains.” – David Steindl-Rast

Education

  • “The only way out of this drunken stupor is to educate children about the value of compassion and the value of applying our mind. We need a long-term approach rooted in a vision to address our collective global challenges. This would require a fundamental shift if human consciousness, something only education is best suited to achieve. Time never waits. So I think it is very important that we start now.” – Dalai Lama

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