Just seeing the names The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu was enough for me to crave this book. They are two inspiring examples of living and leading peacefully in the face of extreme unfairness, while maintaining their capacity for joy in life. They possess the quality of living life in its full dynamic range. How do they do that?
From the book:
Despite their hardships – or, as they would say, because of them – they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.
Their conversations show that they do indeed live life in its full dynamic range. They experience great compassion and great joyfulness and fun.
They offer us a reason to be optimistic:
No dark fate determines the future. We do. Each day and each moment, we are able to create and re-create our lives and the very quality of human life on our planet.
Every day is a new opportunity to begin again. Every day is your birthday.
By showing us where happiness more reliably comes from, they offer us agency, if we are willing to undertake the training of heart and mind:
Lasting happiness cannot be found in pursuit of any goal or achievement. It does not reside in fortune or fame. It resides only in the human mind and heart.
The pillars of joy are:
1 – Perspective: There are many different angles
2 – Humility: I tried to look humble and modest
3 – Humor: Laughter, joking is much better
4 – Acceptance: The only place where change can begin
5 – Forgiveness: Freeing ourselves from the past
6 – Gratitude: I am fortunate to be alive
7 – Compassion: Something we want to become
8 – Generosity: We are filled with joy
I wonder if the 8 pillars of joy describe a process of transforming stress and worry. Perspective, humility, humour and acceptance being ways to disentangle ourselves from the immediacy of our problems. Forgiveness and gratitude enable us to turn back towards life. Compassion and generosity are ways of acting in the world in a wiser way that gives us back our agency.
We are encouraged to practice and find out for ourselves:
You don’t need to believe us. Indeed, nothing we say should be taken as an article of faith. We are sharing what two friends, from very different worlds, have witnessed and learned in our long lives. We hope you will discover whether what is included here is true by applying it in your own life.