This month started out feeling pretty unhappy for me. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but I think it was because I was stuck in a funk of not really knowing how I can move my life forward. Because it was such tough feeling to deal with and it was having major affects on other aspects of my life, I thought I would take some time to read a book about joy. I purchased The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu a few months ago but I just never got around to reading it until recently. It just felt like the right time. So today, I’m going to tell you how I feel about it.
I think this book is quite excellent. It looks at things from a different perspective than most books like this do which is extremely refreshing. It doesn’t take a religious stand point like you’d think it would. The Dalai Lama actually tells most of his stories and teachings based on the idea that we are all related to each other because we are human. We’re not black or white or Christian or Jewish or rich or poor. We’re just human and that’s why we’re all connected. It’s almost profound because the world in general (but especially the US) is obsessed with labeling and separating everyone into categories. But when you think about it, it’s absolutely true. We’re just humans and that’s all. It’s one of the best ways to look at things, but especially when it comes to kindness, generosity, and judgments.
One of my favorite parts of the book is when the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop talk about mental health and how we deal with our emotions. They talk about building up “mental immunity” to the negatives in our lives. It’s basically how we recover from negativity in our lives. If we have strong mental health and high mental immunity, then when negative things happen, we can recover a lot quicker than if we struggle with our mental health. Mental immunity is like a muscle that needs to be trained and worked with every single day to get to a point where those negative thoughts and experiences don’t affect us so much. It’s just like healing from an addiction if you think about it. Sometimes the only way to get better is by working at it every single day for the rest of your life.
Another great point about this topic was that no one will ever completely block out every single negative thought. Sometimes there are situations that you have to just let the negatives be. You can sit and be upset about them and it’s not the end of the world. You get up and you try again tomorrow. The idea is that sometimes you can’t control those negatives, but you don’t have to beat yourself up about it. It’s okay and tomorrow is a new day.
The book goes on the discuss other emotions and how they are related to joy. They also discuss the 8 Pillars of Joy which are absolutely fantastic to read about. Overall, I think it’s an excellent book and I highly recommend it. It can be a lot of information that you need time to understand and digest, though. I found myself reading a chapter or a few paragraphs several times before I felt like I really understood it, but once you understand it it’s very insightful and puts things in perspective. I think if you’re feeling like you want a new perspective on joy and life in general, this would be a great read for you!
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