Joy vs Happiness

The book I am reading write now is called The Book of Joy. It’s more or less a record of what might be the last conversations between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I’m still in the early stages of the book, but already I feel it has had an impact on me. Just reading about these two men and their own perspectives, their out attitudes, and outlook on life is really inspiring. The wisdom these two holy men exemplify transcends any religion, creed, nationality, or any other construct that divides people, and that was their/ the other’s intention in developing this book and this meeting.

One of the early themes they talk about is the difference between happiness and joy. Essentially they say that happiness is based on something external, why joy is based internally. And while the words may be somewhat arbitrary, I think this is a good distinction, and this is why joy is so important. One of the things it looks like they will talk about in depth, and a common question they received, was how can we be joyful in a world filled with so much suffering. They offered this, and I will probably butcher it, but I will resist going back into the book at this moment, that joy intensifies the human experience. Yes is allow to recognize that which contrasts joy, i.e. suffering, but paves the way for compassion, empathy, etc. In this sense joy, our internal pursuit of contentment counters apathy.

What I like about this book is that both the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop are also well read men who seem to know a lot about current events in science and other disciplines. They can recognize what science has to offer and make no attempt blindly to refute or challenge it.

My reading goal may increase.


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