The Book of Joy: On Humour, Happiness and True Joy

What is joy? What makes you and me happy?

Disclaimer: I am not a bookworm. I have only read (and finished!) few actual books in my lifetime. As I looked around in an airport bookstore to 'kill the time', the book cover caught me. 

I have recognised the images of the two individuals facing each other: the Dalai Lama, the leader of the Tibetan Buddhism; and  Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop Emeritus of Southern Africa. But it wasn't their faces that caught my attention that made me pore over few pages before purchasing it for good, but the title The Book of Joy.

#TheBookOfJoy @manikreigun

We all ask and seek happiness in life. There was a film titled 'Hector and the Search for Happiness.' But no one really has the clear-cut answer to that perpetual quest. If you are looking for that answer in this book, then you must be asking the wrong question. This book is written by Douglas Abrams on the meeting of the two spiritual leaders on their time spent together in India. They shared their life stories, jokes, banters (yes they can be mischievous too!), life lessons, hardships and their view on what it takes to feel true joy.

This book is not about religion or about politics. That will be discussed perhaps in another book. But what is joy? There will be questions and even criticisms on those who embody positivity and happiness.

What's to be happy about this world where death and suffering are happening every single hour? 

Maybe the answer lies in the question itself. How do you define happiness? How do you view and define death? Or suffering? Now the operative word in those questions was not the main focus. It was 'YOU'. It starts within each and every one of us.

'The ultimate source of happiness is within us.' - Dalai Lama
'We grow in kindness when our kindness is tested.'- Desmond Tutu.

On the power of humour: There is a popular line, 'laughter is the best medicine.' But how true and effective is it? The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu was full of laughter and used it to connect to people and break down barriers even in the most tensed and distressed times. Humour, comes from the root word of humanity, humility and humans: humus. Humus or hummus means the Earth. 

We can all have a unique connection and bond with one another using humour and laughter. It makes us unguarded and be true to ourselves even momentarily. Imagine seeing and hearing an innocent child's laughter and giggles. It is genuine and infectious that you can't help but find yourself smiling or even giggling with them too!

The lessons and conversations on the book will need more than a reading to grasp, I know I need to! The stories are deep and can be too much of a blur at times, but knowing the true meaning of joy will be one of the life's greatest gifts. It is a constant search and journey, this book has helped widen my views and digest more of what I need such as more humility and humour.

There is a prayer that I would like to share which is beautiful and touching at the same time. This is a Tibetan prayer of the Four Immeasurables as stated in the book:

May all beings attain happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering.
May all beings never be separated from joy.
May all beings abide in equanimity.

What is joy? What makes you and me happy?

How do you define 'happy': is it the material possession; or is it the priceless things in life?
Every day is a new opportunity to begin again to reach lasting happiness.

1 comment

  1. This blog post is great!

    What makes you happy depends on you, yourself. This is how I feel about it, anyway. I know what makes me happy certainly won't be the same for another person. If only there was something universal that could make people happy but I guess that would be reaching. Still, no harm in hoping!

    I will definitely have to add this book to my never ending list, as it sounds like a good read!


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