Living a life filled with joy

Who’s looking for more joy in their lives? Maybe a better question is: who isn’t?

The Book of Joy is, well, a joy. The book came about when Desmond Tutu went to visit his old friend the Dalai Lama in 2015. They spent five days together, celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday (Desmond Tutu is four years older) and also discussing joy, specifically how people can feel more joy.

Desmond Tutu is an Anglican archbishop from South Africa. He is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate (as is the Dalai Lama) and is particularly known for promoting peace and reconciliation. I won’t ID the Dalai Lama, as I think everyone on the entire planet knows who he is.

I loved how the two spiritual leaders relate to each other. They laugh and tease each other – a lot.

Levity aside, when the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu speak, you can feel their utter sincerity and heartfelt compassion for all beings. I felt their words in a very tangible way.

So what, you ask, is the answer to finding joy in a world filled with so much suffering? You’ve probably guessed it’s not about money, having a big house or driving a flashy car.

No, the Buddhist and Anglican leader believe that real happiness – not the fleeting kind, not the kind that is based on fortuitous circumstances – lies in our connection to others. Thus they deeply value friendship, and also being concerned for the well-being of others.  They also offer specific practices (on compassion, generosity and gratitude, for example) to increase joy.

This is a book brimming with warmth and wisdom – and joy too. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

–Penny D.