Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
An Invitation to Joy
Category:
Spirit
Photo byMiranda Penn Turin

Against the backdrop of the Himalayan foothills, two great spiritual masters and good friends came together to celebrate a birthday. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Archbishop Emeritus of Southern Africa Desmond Tutu spent a week in friendship and conversation, culminating in what they now describe as a birthday gift to the world and an invitation to joy: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.

Co-written by author and longstanding Esalen teacher Douglas Abrams, the newly released The Book of Joy explores the nature of joy and was written in part while Douglas was at Esalen. “I had the great responsibility and sublime joy of writing with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu,” says Doug, who has served as a cowriter and editor for the Archbishop for more than a decade. “It is the culmination of a lifelong journey to discover the secrets of joy in the face of the suffering we all experience and witness around us.  It could not be a more timely message during these challenging times.”

The book explores the nature of joy, overcoming obstacles to joy (from fear and anger to adversity, illness, and even death), and the Eight Pillars of Joy (the four qualities of mind and the four qualities of heart that they believe are the basis for true and lasting happiness). Within its pages are insights and wisdoms from two of the modern world’s greatest teachers who remind us that every day is a new opportunity to start again, and that every day can be a birthday.

“Everybody wants a happy life— and our individual happy life depends on a happy humanity,” observes his Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan People and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. “So, we have to think about humanity, discover a sense of oneness of all seven billion human beings.”

“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 that we must pass through,” shares Archbishop Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and later appointed chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission by Nelson Mandela, where he pioneered a new way for countries to move forward after experiencing civil conflict and oppression.

You can read more at http://www.bookofjoy.org.

“Esalen is one the crucibles of our evolving culture, where imagination and compassion come to grow and play, so it was so fitting that I was able to finish writing The Book of Joy in this creative and loving environment,” added Doug. “It has become a second home, where all aspects of our humanity are welcomed and embraced, just like they are by these two great masters."

The following Joy Practice is excerpted from The Book of Joy with permission from its co-author.

Rejoicing in Your Day


How we close the day and go to sleep is an important part of our practice. Both Buddhist and Christian monks, like people in many traditions, have a practice of reflecting on the day. St. Ignatius Loyola called it the Daily Examen. Buddhist monks call it Making a Dedication. The practice has different aspects, but all involve reflecting on the events of the day as a way of noticing whether one has fulfilled one’s intention, experiencing gratitude for one’s blessings, and turning toward the next day on the journey of life. The following is a shared practice reflecting the major features of the two traditions. If you have a religious faith, you can adapt this into a prayer practice in which you are in conversation with the divine. If you do not, you can focus on the highest and best part of yourself.

1. Reflect on the day.
Before going to bed or while lying in bed, take a few minutes to reflect on your day. Consider important experiences, conversations, emotions, and thoughts, although it is important not to focus too much on what you did or did not do. The point is simply to note the major features of your day and to consider whether your day was in alignment with the intention you set in the morning.

2. Pay attention to your emotions and accept your experience.
Reflect on the emotions that came up during the day. If negative thoughts or feelings arise, just be present with them. Do not try to push away the negative or grasp after the positive. Just acknowledge what happened. If you are disappointed with some aspect of how you acted, put your hand on your heart and say, “I accept myself as I am, flawed and human like everyone else.” Notice where you have fallen short of your intention, because that is part of what will allow you to grow and learn. If something painful happened in your day, you can gently acknowledge it by saying, “That was painful. I am not alone. We all suffer at times.”

3. Feel gratitude.
The most important quality to have toward your day is gratitude for what you have experienced, even for what was hard and what allowed you to learn and grow. If you are keeping a journal of what you are grateful for, you may wish to write these down now.

4. Rejoice in your day.
Pick something you did during the day that you feel good about—helping someone, keeping your cool during a conflict. If you can’t think of anything, you can rejoice in the fact that you are doing this practice. Now dedicate the merit of your day and let it be a blessing to all.

5. Look to tomorrow.
You can finish by turning your attention to the next day and setting your intention for how you wish to face the challenges that may come. Trust that you will be able to handle whatever the next day may hold and release your concerns for the night as you go to sleep.

Photo by by Tenzin Choejor.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

An Invitation to Joy

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Spirit
Photo byMiranda Penn Turin

Against the backdrop of the Himalayan foothills, two great spiritual masters and good friends came together to celebrate a birthday. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Archbishop Emeritus of Southern Africa Desmond Tutu spent a week in friendship and conversation, culminating in what they now describe as a birthday gift to the world and an invitation to joy: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.

Co-written by author and longstanding Esalen teacher Douglas Abrams, the newly released The Book of Joy explores the nature of joy and was written in part while Douglas was at Esalen. “I had the great responsibility and sublime joy of writing with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu,” says Doug, who has served as a cowriter and editor for the Archbishop for more than a decade. “It is the culmination of a lifelong journey to discover the secrets of joy in the face of the suffering we all experience and witness around us.  It could not be a more timely message during these challenging times.”

The book explores the nature of joy, overcoming obstacles to joy (from fear and anger to adversity, illness, and even death), and the Eight Pillars of Joy (the four qualities of mind and the four qualities of heart that they believe are the basis for true and lasting happiness). Within its pages are insights and wisdoms from two of the modern world’s greatest teachers who remind us that every day is a new opportunity to start again, and that every day can be a birthday.

“Everybody wants a happy life— and our individual happy life depends on a happy humanity,” observes his Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan People and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. “So, we have to think about humanity, discover a sense of oneness of all seven billion human beings.”

“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 that we must pass through,” shares Archbishop Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and later appointed chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission by Nelson Mandela, where he pioneered a new way for countries to move forward after experiencing civil conflict and oppression.

You can read more at http://www.bookofjoy.org.

“Esalen is one the crucibles of our evolving culture, where imagination and compassion come to grow and play, so it was so fitting that I was able to finish writing The Book of Joy in this creative and loving environment,” added Doug. “It has become a second home, where all aspects of our humanity are welcomed and embraced, just like they are by these two great masters."

The following Joy Practice is excerpted from The Book of Joy with permission from its co-author.

Rejoicing in Your Day


How we close the day and go to sleep is an important part of our practice. Both Buddhist and Christian monks, like people in many traditions, have a practice of reflecting on the day. St. Ignatius Loyola called it the Daily Examen. Buddhist monks call it Making a Dedication. The practice has different aspects, but all involve reflecting on the events of the day as a way of noticing whether one has fulfilled one’s intention, experiencing gratitude for one’s blessings, and turning toward the next day on the journey of life. The following is a shared practice reflecting the major features of the two traditions. If you have a religious faith, you can adapt this into a prayer practice in which you are in conversation with the divine. If you do not, you can focus on the highest and best part of yourself.

1. Reflect on the day.
Before going to bed or while lying in bed, take a few minutes to reflect on your day. Consider important experiences, conversations, emotions, and thoughts, although it is important not to focus too much on what you did or did not do. The point is simply to note the major features of your day and to consider whether your day was in alignment with the intention you set in the morning.

2. Pay attention to your emotions and accept your experience.
Reflect on the emotions that came up during the day. If negative thoughts or feelings arise, just be present with them. Do not try to push away the negative or grasp after the positive. Just acknowledge what happened. If you are disappointed with some aspect of how you acted, put your hand on your heart and say, “I accept myself as I am, flawed and human like everyone else.” Notice where you have fallen short of your intention, because that is part of what will allow you to grow and learn. If something painful happened in your day, you can gently acknowledge it by saying, “That was painful. I am not alone. We all suffer at times.”

3. Feel gratitude.
The most important quality to have toward your day is gratitude for what you have experienced, even for what was hard and what allowed you to learn and grow. If you are keeping a journal of what you are grateful for, you may wish to write these down now.

4. Rejoice in your day.
Pick something you did during the day that you feel good about—helping someone, keeping your cool during a conflict. If you can’t think of anything, you can rejoice in the fact that you are doing this practice. Now dedicate the merit of your day and let it be a blessing to all.

5. Look to tomorrow.
You can finish by turning your attention to the next day and setting your intention for how you wish to face the challenges that may come. Trust that you will be able to handle whatever the next day may hold and release your concerns for the night as you go to sleep.

Photo by by Tenzin Choejor.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
An Invitation to Joy
Category:
Spirit

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About

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An Invitation to Joy

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