Book: The Book of Joy

bookofjoy“The Book of Joy” by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Gouglas Abrams

  • “‘joy,’ as the Archbishop said during the week, ‘is much bigger than happiness. While happiness is often seen as being dependent on external circumstances, joy is not.'”
  • “Suffering is inevitable, they said, but how we respond to that suffering is our choice.”
  • “The ultimate source of happiness is within us. Not money, not power, not status. Some of my friends are billionaires, but they are veery unhappy people. Power and money fail to bring inner peace. Outward attainment will not bring real inner joyfulness. We must look inside.”
  • “Sadly, many of the things that undermine our joy and happiness we create ourselves. Often it comes from the negative tendencies of the mind, emotional reactivity, or from our inability to appreciate and utilize the resources that exist within us.”
  • “It’s wonderful to discover that what we want is not actually happiness. It is not actually what I would speak of. I would speak of joy. Joy subsumes happiness. Joy is the far greater thing. Think of a mother who is going to give birth. Almost all of us want to escape pain. And mothers know that they are going to have pain, the great pain of giving birth. But they accept it. And even after the most painful labor, once the baby is out, you can’t measure the mother’s joy. It is one of those incredible things that joy can come so quickly from suffering.”
  • Feeling of joy:
    • “pleasure (of the five senses)”
    • “amusement (from a chuckle to a belly laugh)”
    • “contentment (a calmer kind of satisfaction)”
    • “excitement (in response to novelty or challenge)”
    • “relief (following upon another emotion, such as fear, anxiety, and even pleasure)”
    • “wonder (before something astonishing and admirable)”
    • “ecstasy or bliss (transporting us outside ourselves)”
    • “exultation (at having accomplished a difficult or daring task)”
    • “radiant pride (when our children earn a special honor)”
    • “unhealthy jubilation or schadenfreude (relishing in someone else’s suffering)”
    • “elevation (from having witnessed an act of kindness, generosity, or compassion)”
    • “gratitude (the appreciation of a selfless of which one is the beneficiary)”
    • “rejoicing (in someone else’s happiness, what Buddhists call mudita)”
    • “delight or enchantment (a shining kind of contentment)”
    • “spiritual radiance (a serene joy born from deep well-being and benevolence)”
  • “…when you experience some tragic situation, think about it. If there’s no way to overcome the tragedy, then there is no use worrying too much.”
  • “And then outside China, there are many more problems and more suffering. When we see these things, we realized that not only do we suffer, but so do many of our human brothers and sisters. So when we look at the same event from a wider perspective, we will reduce the worrying and our own suffering.”
  • “This was not a denial of pain and suffering, but a shift in perspective—from oneself and toward others, from anguish to compassion—seeing that other are suffering as well. The remarkable thing about what the Dalai Lama was describing is that as we recognize others’ suffering and realize that we are not alone, our pain is lessened.”
  • “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”
  • “Wherever you have friends that’s your country, and wherever you receive love, that’s your home.”
  • “When I spoke about mothers and childbirth, it seems to be a wonderful metaphor, actually, that nothing beautiful in the end comes without a measure of some pain, some frustration, some suffering. This is the nature of things. This is how our universe has been make up.”
  • “Too much self-centered thinking is the source of suffering. A compassionate concern for others’ well-being is the source of happiness.”
  • “By simply shifting my focus to another person, which is what compassion does, my own pain was much less intense. This is how compassion works even at the physical level.”
  • “We have to take care of ourselves without selfishly taking care of ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot survive. We need to do that. We should have wise selfishness rather than foolish selfishness. Foolish selfishness means you just think only of yourself, don’t care about others, bully others, exploit others. In fact, take care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life. So that is what I call wise selfishness.”
  • “trying to seek happiness through sensory gratification is like trying to quench your thirst by drinking saltwater”
  • “So when joy arises at the level of your mind and not just your senses, you can maintain a deep sense of satisfaction for a much longer period of time–even for twenty-four hours.”
  • “When you are joyful and happy at the mental level, physical pain doesn’t matter very much. But if there is no joy or happiness at the mental level, much much worrying, too much fear, then even physical comforts and pleasures will not soothe your mental discomfort.”
  • “If you develop a strong sense of concern for the well-being of all sentient beings and in particular all human beings, this will make you happy”
  • “Yet scientists have found that the more we experience any pleasure, the more we become numb to its effects and take its pleasures for granted. The first bowl of ice cream is sublime, the second bowl tasty, and the third causes indigestion. It is like a drug that must be taken in ever-greater quantities to produce the same high.”
  • “One individual, no matter how powerful, how clever, cannot survive without other human beings. so the best way to fulfill your wishes, to reach your goals, is to make more friends.”
  • “‘How do we create more friends?’ he now asked rhetorically. ‘Trust. How do you develop rust? It’s simple: You show your genuine sense of concern for their well-being. Then trust will come.”
  • “In fact, survey after survey has shown that it is unhappy people who tend to be most self-focused and are socially withdrawn, brooding, and even antagonistic. Happy people, in contrast, are generally found to be more sociable, flexible, and creative, and are able to tolerate life’s daily frustrations more easily than unhappy people. And, most important, they are found to be more loving and forgiving than unhappy people.”
  • “…at the core of all the world’s religion–love”
  • “…the ultimate source of happiness is simply a healthy body and a warm heart.”
  • “With a self-centered attitude, you become distanced from others, then distrust, then feel insecure, then fear, then anxiety, then frustration, then anger, then violence.”
  • “Through self-inquiry and meditation, we can discover the nature of our mind and learn to soothe our emotional reactivity. This will leave us less vulnerable to the destructive emotions and thought patterns that cause us so much suffering. This is the process of developing mental immunity.”
  • “You learn when something happens that tests you.”
  • “You are made for perfection, but you are not yet perfect. You are a masterpiece in the making.”
  • ” I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I felt fear more times than I can remember, but hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” — Nelson Mandela
  • “when we see how little we really need–love and connection–then all the getting and grasping that we thought was so essential to our well-being takes its rightful place and no longer becomes the focus or the obsession of our lives.”
  • “The problem is not the existence of stressors, which cannot be avoided; stress is simply the brain’s way of signaling that something is important. The problem–or perhaps the opportunity–is how we respond to this stress.”
  • “a way of handling your worries: thinking about others. You can think about others who are in a similar situation or perhaps even in a worse situation, but who have survived, even thrives. It does help quite a lot to see yourself as part of a greater whole.”
  • “Where there is fear, frustration will come. Frustration brings anger.”
  • “When we can acknowledge and express the fear–how we are feeling threatened–then we are often able to soothe the anger.”
  • “But we need to be willing to admit our vulnerability. We are often ashamed of these fears and hurts, thinking that if we were invulnerable, we would never experience pain, but this, as the Archbishop said, is not the nature of being human.”
  • “Sadness and grief are, of course, natural human responses to loss, but if your focus remains on the loved one you have just lost, the experience is less likely to lead to despair. In contrast, if your focus while grieving remains mostly on yourself–‘What am I going to do now? How can I cope?’–then there is a greater danger of going down the path of despair and depression.”
  • “Yes, we do have setbacks, but you must keep everything in perspective. The world is getting better. Think about the rights of women or how slavery was considered morally justified a few hundred years ago. It takes time. We are growing and learning how to be compassionate, how to be caring, how to be human.”
  • “When we look at news, we must keep this more holistic view. Yes, this or that terrible thing has happened. No doubt, there are very negative things, but at the same time there are many more positive things happening in our world. We must have a sense of proportion and a wider perspective. Then we will not feel despair when we see these sad things.”
  • “If you are filled with negative judgement and anger, then you will feel separate from other people. You will feel lonely. But if you have an open heart and are filled with trust and friendship, even if you are physically alone, even living a hermit’s life, you will never feel lonely.”
  • “The paradox is that although the drive behind excessive self-focus is to seek greater happiness for yourself, it ends up doing exactly the opposite. When you focus too much on yourself, you become disconnected and alienated from others. In the end, you also become alienated from yourself, since the need for connection with others is such a fundamental part of who we are as human beings.”
  • “a powerful remedy for envy: gratitude”
  • “another remedy: motivation”
  • “these external goals will not bring us true joy or lasting happiness, but motivation to improve our situation is certainly better than envy of someone else’s.”
  • “Often envy comes because we are too focused on material possessions and not on our true inner values.”
  • “The suffering is what makes you appreciate the joy.”
  • “‘Many people think of suffering as a problem,’ the Dalai Lama said. ‘Actually, it is an opportunity destiny has given to you. In spite of difficulties and suffering, you can remain firm and maintain your composure.”
  • “Love others as you love yourself”
  • “suffering can either embitter us or ennoble us and that the difference lies in whether we are able to find meaning in our suffering. Without meaning, when suffering seems senseless, we can easily become embittered. But when we can find a shred of meaning or redemption in our suffering, it can ennoble us, as it did for Nelson Mandela.”
  • “Because of the shock suffering causes us, our arrogance falls away. Suffering also give rise to compassion for all others who are suffering, and, because of our experience of suffering, we avoid actions that will bring suffering to others.”
  • “Curing involves the resolution of the illness but was not always possible. Healing, he said, was coming to wholeness and could happen whether or not the illness was curable.”
  • “The true measure of spiritual development is how one confronts one’s own mortality. The best way is when one is able to approach death with joy; next best way is without fear; their best way is at least not to have regrets.”
  • “If there’s nothing you can do to overcome the situation, then there is no need for fear or sadness or anger.”
  • “Many people on this planet worry about going to hell, but this is not much use. There is no need to be afraid. While we remain on the earth worrying about hell, about death, about all the things that could go wrong, we will have lots of anxiety, and we will never find joy and happiness. If you are truly afraid of hell, you need to live your life with some purpose, especially through helping others.”
  • “one of the greatest challenges that humanity faces: removing the barriers between who we see as ‘us’ and who we see as ‘other.'”
  • “eight pillars of joy. Four were qualities of the mind: perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance. Four were qualities of the heart: forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity.”
  •  “With our mind we create our won world.”
  • “When you look at the same event from a wider perspective, your sense of worry and anxiety reduces, and you have greater joy.”
  • “Take something bad that happened in the past and then consider all the good came out of it.”
  • “In a multiceter prospective study of coronary heart disease, health researcher Larry Scherwitz found that people who more frequently said I, me, or mine had a higher risk of having a heart attack and had a higher risk of their heart attack being fatal.”
  • “I would think of myself as something special, and that kind of thinking would make me feel isolated. It is this sense of separateness that isolates us from other people. In fact, this kind of arrogant way of thinking creates a sense of loneliness, and then anxiety.”
  • “humility is essential to a life of joy.”
  • “Whenever I se someone, may I never feel superior. From the depth of my heart, may I be able to really appreciate the other person in front of me.”
  • “our vulnerabilities, our frailties, and our limitations are a reminder that we need one another: We are not created for independence or self-sufficiency, but for interdependence and mutual support.”
  • “if you don’t have genuine love and kindness toward yourself, how can you extend these to others?”
  • “too much focus on yourself leads to fear, insecurity, and anxiety. Remember, you re not alone. You are part of a whole generation that is the future of humanity. Then you will get a sense of courage and purpose in life.”
  • “Life is hard, you know, and laughter is how we come to terms with all the ironies and cruelties and uncertainties that we face.”
  • “I don’t think I woke up and presto I was funny. I think it is something that you can cultivate. Like anything else, it is a skill. Yes, it does help if you have the inclination, and especially if you can laugh at yourself, so learn to laugh at yourself. It’s really the easiest place to begin. It’s about humility. Laugh at yourself and don’t be so pompous and serious. If you start looking for the humor in life, you will find it.”
  • “Why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied? And what is the use of being unhappy if it an not be remedied?”
  • “We cannot succeed by denying what exists. The acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can begin.”
  • “while each of us should do everything we can to realize the goal we seek, whether or not we succeed often depends on many factors beyond our control. So our responsibility is to pursue the goal with all the dedication we can muster, do the best we can but not become fixated on a preconceived notion of a result. Sometimes, actually quiet often, our efforts lead to an unexpected outcome that might even be better than what we originally had in mind.”
  • “you can accept that your relationship with your neighbor is difficult and that you would like to improve it. You may or may not succeed, but all you can do is try. You cannot control your neighbor, but you do have some control over your thoughts and feelings. Instead of anger, instead of hatred, instead of fear, you can cultivate compassion for them, you can cultivate kindness toward them, you can cultivate warmheartedness toward them. This is the only chance to improve the relationship. In time, maybe they will become less difficult. Maybe not. This you cannot control, but you will have your peace of mind. You will be able to be joyful and happy whether your neighbor becomes less difficult or not.”
  • “Forgiveness does not mean we forget. You should remember the negative thing, but because there is a possibility to develop hatred, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be led in that direction–we choose forgiveness.”
  • “Not reacting with negativity, or giving in to the negative emotions, does not mean you do not respond to the act or that you allow yourself to be harmed again. Forgiveness does not mean that you do not seek justice or that the perpetrator is not punished.”
  • “We stand firm against the wrong not only to protect those who are being harmed but also to protect the person who is harming others, because eventually they, too, will suffer. So it’s out of a sense of concern for their own long-term well-being that we stop their wrongdoing.”
  • “Forgiveness is the only way to heal ourselves and to be free from the past.”
  • “Until we can forgive the person who harmed us, that person will hold the keys to our happiness, that person will be our jailor. When we forgive, we take back control of our own fate and our feelings. We become our own liberator.”
  • “an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind.”
  • “It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It is gratefulness that makes us happy. Every moment is a gift. There is not certainty that you have another moment, with all the opportunity that it contains. The gift within every gift is the opportunity it offers us. Most often it is the opportunity to enjoy it, but sometimes a difficult gift is given to us and that can be an opportunity to rise to the challenge.” –David Steindl-Rast
  • “Unforgiveness robs us of our ability to enjoy and appreciate our life, because we are trapped in the past filled with anger and bitterness. Forgiveness allows us to move beyond the past and appreciate the present, including the drops of rain falling on our face.”
  • “Whatever life gives to you, you can respond with joy. Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens. It is the grateful response to the opportunity that life offers you  at this moment.” –David Steindl Rast
  • “The world didn’t give you your joy, and the world can’t take it away. You can let people come into your life and destroy it, but I refused to let anyone take my joy. I get up in the morning, and I don’t need anyone to make me laugh. I am going to laugh on my own, because I have been blessed to see another day, and when you are blessed to see another day that should automatically give you joy.”
  • “When you are grateful, you are not fearful, and when you are not fearful, you are not violent. When you are grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people and respectful to all people. A grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people. A grateful world is a happy world.”
  • “It’s taught that the best way to create good karma with the least amount of effort is to rejoice in your good deeds and those of others.”
  • “Compassion is a sense of concern that arises when we are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to see that suffering relieved.”
  • “This concern for others is something very precious. We humans have a special brain, but this brain causes a lot of suffering because it is always thinking me, me, me, me. The more time you spend thinking about yourself, the more suffering you will experience. The incredible thing is that when we think of alleviating other people’s suffering, our own suffering is reduced. This is the true secret to happiness. So this is very practical thing. In fact, it is common sense.”
  • “Lack of self-compassion manifests ina harsh and judgmental relationship with ourselves. Many people believe that unless they are critical and demanding, they will be failures, unworthy of recognition and underserving of love.”
  • “psychologist Kristin Neff has identified ways to express self-compassion: When we treat ourselves with compassion, we accept that there are parts of our personality that we may not be satisfied with, but we do not berate ourselves as we try to address them. When we go through a difficult time, we are caring and kind to ourselves, as we would be to a friend or relative. When we feel inadequate in some way, we remind ourselves that all people have these feelings or limitations.  When things are hard, we recognize that all people go through similar challenges. And finally when we are feeling down, we try to understand this feeling with curiosity and acceptance rather than rejection or self-judgement.”
  • “Researcher Elizabeth Dunn and her colleagues found that people experience greater happiness when they spend money on others than when they spend it on themselves.”
  • “‘One of the persistent myths in our society,’ Jim explained, ‘is that money will make you happy. Growing up poor, I thought that money would give me everything I did not have: control, power, love. When I finally had all the money I had ever dreamed of, I discovered that it had not made me happy. And when I lost it all, all of my false friends disappeared.’ Jim decided to go through with his contribution. ‘At that moment I realized that the only way that money can bring happiness is to give it away.'”
  • “A large meta-analysis by Morris Okun and his colleagues have found that volunteering reduces the risk of death by 24 percent.”
  • “And from this comes a generosity that is ‘wise-selfish,’ a generosity that recognizes helping others as helping ourselves.”
  • “True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Forgiveness: http://www.humanjourney.com/forgiveness/
  • See also http://bookofjoy.org/

 

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