The Book of Joy

I began reading The Book of Joy (again). I began reading it and I felt like I honestly learned many different things through the experiences of these men, but I only got half way through the book because, as with many books I begin, life gets in the way. Trying to juggle having a social life, learning new things, and an appropriate amount of sleep; I couldn’t fit reading into my schedule. So, I’ve started from the very beginning of this book, trying to get a closer “read”, jotting down notes, putting stars around different passages, and underlining sentences that leave an impression on me, I’ll get to that later. Let me go back to the beginning.

I was initially interested in this book because I saw a YouTube video of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu together. Through that video you could see and feel joy overflowing between these two “holy men”.

I know. Adorable, right? You can feel the joy flowing through them through this photo and through this book. Another reason why I started reading this book was because I felt like I needed to get my shit together. I honestly do believe that I am happy a lot of the time, but what I’ve gathered through the part that I’ve read, happiness and joy are two different beasts that often get interchanged with one another. Most books about happiness and joy usually end up saying that the answer is in you, but this book argues that we need other people to feel true joy.

One quote that stuck out to me the most from what I’ve read is a Tibetan saying: Wherever you have friends that’s your country, and wherever you receive love, that’s your home. This quote has been underlined, highlighted, starred, the whole shebang. That’s how important it is to me, it hits the right cord.

The first rule that I made up a long time ago to live my life was: Do whatever you need to be happy. Which is something that I wholeheartedly believed in, but is happiness enough? This book argues that happiness is short term, while joy is something that is entirely different. Am I feeling joy or happiness during my time here in Korea? If we find joy in other people, do people find joy with me too?

-Michael.