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The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu talk about JOY

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Meeting Of Two Greats:

ArchBishop Desmond Tutu flew to India to visit HH The Dalai Lama for his 80th birthday and Douglas Abrams got to tag along. He was commissioned to capture the magic of this historic event and turn it into a book. What happened that week was incredible. Desmond Tutu was able to nudge the Dalai Lama into dancing for the first time in his life. They celebrated life and talked about  joy and compassion.

Neither of these men have had easy lives. Both have dealt with tremendous adversity and yet, through is all, are contagiously happy. Are they exceptions to the rule or do they know something that can help us?

It turns out that it can be taught. At the heart of both Buddhism and Christianity lies compassion and forgiveness. We can’t be in joy if we’re constantly living in bitterness or seeking revenge. So how do we become more human? How can we look at suffering as an opportunity to grow and find more joy?

They speak of joy as a TRAIT versus a STATE. It is an operating system or matrix through which information comes into our lives. We can choose how we deal with life’s events and these two men are living proof that it can be done.

Enjoy the interview.

Interview Notes From The Show:

Dr. Pedram:

Hey, welcome back to The Urban Monk. Very happy to have Douglas Abrams here with me today. Incredible gentleman, great energy and he is I got to say, I’m all jealous because he got to be with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu for some solid quality time up in Dharamshala celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. It was this magical week where you’d put these two titans, these two spiritual legends in the same structure. With that, there was an amazing thing that happens. The book that he has co-authored with these two, it’s called The Book of Joy. It’s all about this experience and what came of it and really the spirit behind it. Man, Douglas, welcome, welcome to show.

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

Douglas:

Great to be here with Pedram.

Dr. Pedram:

I got to say, I am very jealous. That is such an honor really to be with those two individuals together. These are titans of our time. There are very few people of that caliber on the planet. You got them both in the same room for a while. What was the impetus for this? How did this whole thing come about? Who decided it was time to fly Desmond Tutu to India?

Douglas:

Let me say, it was a daunting privilege. It was an incredible opportunity but it was an amazing responsibility as well to bring these two luminaries, these two icons together and to try to capture in The Book of Joy not only their wisdom, but also their humanity, their humor. The week we spent together was filled with just incredible delighted mischievousness. To capture all of that and try to bring the reader in on that journey, and to experience what we got to experience during that week in Dharamshala. You asked what sparked this whole project?

Actually the project goes back … The first thing to say is that the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, who’ve only actually met about half a dozen times because world leaders and icons don’t get a lot of time to just hang out with their buddies. They have become buddies and they call each other mischievous spiritual brother. They just love each other and they just so enjoy being with each other. The Dalai Lama was supposed to come to the Archbishop’s 80th birthday in South Africa as the guest of honor. Unfortunately, he was not issued a visa so he was not allowed to go to South Africa, and they ended up having quite an amazing Google hangout where they spoke to each other, but they didn’t actually get to see each other.

When the Dalai Lama was turning 80, actually we were down in South Africa with the Archbishop for his wife’s birthday and I was there with a gentleman named Jim [Dody 00:03:21] who was the head of the Dalai Lama Foundation. He said, “Well, what about the idea of these two amazing men doing a book together.” We turned to each other and we said, “Joy, it would have to be on joy.” These are two of the most joyful people on the planet. We said to Archbishop Tutu, we said, “Hey Arch,” as he likes to be called, or his friends call him, “Do you want to do a bool with the Dalai Lama?” He said, “I’d do anything with that man.” They just love each other.

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

After it was a period of quite a while to get them together. The Archbishop has been sick and so it was quite an issue of the logistics. We were able to fly Archbishop Tutu to Dharamshala for a week together. It was magical from the start to finish. The Dalai Lama met us on the tarmac and their greeting, their love. You’ll see there are pictures in the book, you’ll see the kind of embrace and the way in which the Archbishop would hold the Dalai Lama’s cheeks. It’s as if these, they’re two besties, oldest friends getting together. It was just a week of incredible unconditional love and humor.

Dr. Pedram:

Did you set up this week so that you could put them in a room and whatever came of it became the book? This whole thing was curated around a birthday visit and the birth of a book that would come of this experience?

Douglas:

Yeah, they really wanted to give a gift to the world for their birthdays. It was really how do we make this time together something that is of benefit to the world. As you probably know, they’re all about what they can give. Their birthday gifts are about giving much more than receiving. They wanted to create this gift of their shared philosophies of life, their values. As you probably know, the Dalai Lama talks about joy and happiness as the core of life. The very purpose of life is to seek happiness and to seek satisfaction and fulfillment.

The opportunity to have a dialogue together about what they each believe in the deepest recesses of their heart and soul, and really how it is that these two men who have experienced incredible hardship and suffering in their lives. Whether that’s the oppression of apartheid South Africa, or the exile that the Dalai Lama has experienced from Tibet with his people. How do these two men who face so much of their own personal suffering, their nation suffering, the world suffering, how do they find this incredible well spring of joy. That was the purpose of the book, was to try to have them articulate that for the world.

Dr. Pedram:

As an author, being one myself and I’m kind of in the throws of doing my next book and I’ve got my own process.

Douglas:

Sure.

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

Dr. Pedram:

I’ve got to pull that out of my own head. You have these two kind of infinite fountains of wisdom and joy, that are just spewing. You have these two geysers and so how do you even go about saying, “Okay, guys, let’s go.” How do you write a book around and experience like this?

Douglas:

From the start, the book was envisioned as a three layer cake if you will, a three layer birthday cake with their personal stories, which they share these just incredibly revealing and profound stories from their lives. Their spiritual philosophies, their ideas, what they believe, as well as the science. This is interesting because they both are, even though they are men of faith and are religious icons, they believe deeply in the importance of science and of what the Archbishop calls self corroborating truth.

The idea was to take their stories, their dialogue, their ideas and to help bolster that or if you will or contract that with most of the cases validating it with the scientific research as well, which was interesting. Actually, I guess I should say a four layer cake because the other piece of it was the travel log, which was the idea of what it was actually like being there, what it was like in the room. We had this incredible week together and it wasn’t just about the dialogue. We actually got to break bread together. The Dalai Lama taught the Archbishop how to meditate. The Dalai Lama received communion from the Archbishop. We had a birthday party for a surprise small little birthday party for 2500 people for the Dalai Lama.

Actually, during the birthday party, the Dalai Lama danced for the first time in his life. There’s actually a picture in the book of when the Archbishop is African, say no more, he’s got great rhythm and boogie. He gets up and the Dalai Lama because he’s a Buddhist monk, he hasn’t been able to, he has been not permitted to dance. The Archbishop coaxed him up and got him to do this little wonderful shimmy and just hands and it was just, it was magical to watch them. It was just this wonderful expression of the joy of their relationship, and the joy of the experience of being together. It was pretty, pretty incredible.

Dr. Pedram:

Amazing.

Douglas:

Trying to get all of that in the book. As you said as a writer, typically you’re dealing with your thoughts or you stories. Here, we’re braiding together, weaving, it was like a tapestry of these stories, these ideas and the experiences that they were having together with five film cameras circling around them.

Dr. Pedram:

Well, that certainly helps, doesn’t it?

Douglas:

Yes.

Dr. Pedram:

Because you capture it all and then you go make sense of it later and yeah.

Douglas:

Exactly, exactly. That definitely helped.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah, my goodness. I’ve been there, I’ve been to McLeod Ganj and spent … I had the fortune of sitting with the Dalai Lama for some time. He was teaching the [Bado 00:09:44]. I was very fortunate I got to meet him there, in his house and all that. It’s a very powerful place.

Douglas:

Yeah.

Dr. Pedram:

For those who don’t know Dharamshala, he has this complex and it’s very modest, it’s where the Indian government gave him this refuge after the whole exile thing. It’s not like a palace, palace, it’s just kind of a compound on this very majestic hill with just Tibetan monks walking around praying and spinning prayers everywhere. Did you get to walk the grounds? Were there like occasions where it was just free flow on the grounds there?

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

Douglas:

Yeah, there were times where we were walking together there, there was walking meditation times. You probably know about … You’ve probably walked the circle around. Many of the Tibetans there walk, circumambulate the palace and their prayer wheels and incense. There are monuments to the suffering in Tibet. It’s a very moving, it’s very beautiful. As you said, it’s not the thousand room palace that the Dalai Lama had when he was living in Lhasa in Tibet before the exile. Even this was so incredible to me, was just we were talking about joy in the face of suffering. It was really not just about don’t worry, be happy.

This was about how do we find joy in the realities of our own lives and the realities of our world which is so often filled with suffering. The Dalai Lama told us the story of the flight into exile, the night that he had to leave Tibet. This very moving story about passing by the Chinese garrisons and summiting 10000ft and encountering snow storms and sandstorms. Really, he was quite in danger for his life as the [party 00:11:48] if they had been discovered. Just his ability, we talked about fear and death. We talked about just the ability to see that experience. One of the things he talked about was how he looked at that experience and he said, “You know, this suffering is an opportunity.

This suffering that I have experienced and my people have experienced is this opportunity that has given me this wider exposure to the world that I would never have had if I had been in that gilded cage in that palace in Lhasa.” I think that was one example of the ways in which they shared the way they see the world, their perspective, the way they see reality and see suffering in such a beautiful way that really just opens our eyes to a new way of seeing our own lives.

Dr. Pedram:

Both of them have a very interesting through line. Neither of these guys had it easy. There’s this kind of misconception in the west, this western spiritual circles where there’s this real serious kind of aversion to pain and suffering and moving towards this thing called joy, that isn’t actual joy, it’s kind of this aversion for me. It’s kind of the classic quintessential Buddhist suffering. The Dalai Lama metabolizes suffering. The Dalai Lama takes that and turns that into real joy and you see it. Anyone who’s met the Dalai Lama just stops and goes, “Oh, oh, right.” I’ve never had the privilege of meeting the Archbishop, but I hear the same of him.

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

Douglas:

Yeah.

Dr. Pedram: They’re remarkable individuals that are doing something with suffering that is very special. It’s almost like alchemy. When you’re with them you feel it.

Douglas:

Right.

Dr. Pedram:

Did they get into the methodology? Did they get into any of the practices that allow them to be this way, because it’s real, it’s authentic joy. It isn’t something you’re pretending to be.

Douglas:

It’s a great question and actually the book ultimately got structured into three different parts. The first part is the nature of true joy and I think that speaks very much to what you’re talking about, which is what is this that we’re talking about? What is joy? How is it different from happiness? How is it, what is it? It’s actually a very rich and complex human experience. That scientists actually say that there are four fundamental human emotions, fear, anger, sadness and joy. If you think about those, we often call fear, anger and sadness negative emotions and joy obviously is a positive emotion.

In fact, what we’re exploring here is what makes life positive and exciting and fulfilling. It’s really the whole nature of human experience. Of course, we were also talking about fear, anger and sadness a great deal in the week as well. That was the first day, we talked about that. We really dived deeply into that. Then the second and third day was on the obstacles to joy. Everything from fear and frustration and anger and envy, to illness, suffering and even fear of death. Then the final two days were spent talking about what they were calling the eight pillars of joy, which are really four pillars of the heart and four pillars of the mind.

They really did get very specific about their ways in which they sustain joy. I think one of the most important things to say is when we’re talking about true joy, what I’ve discovered in these dialogues is that they’re not talking about a state. All of us, we all kind of experience joy. “Oh, well, that was a wonderful scoop of ice-cream. I’m feeling joyful.” I saw my loved one, I feel joyful.

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

Dr. Pedram:

My team won the game.

Douglas:

The team won the game, I’m feeling joyful. What they’re really talking about is joy not as a state that we enter into and fall out of, but as a trait, as a quality of our character and our lives and an approach to life. That was really the nature of true joy. That was what we actually got to. Those eight pillars of joy that we got to at the end are really what they described as joy as actually the byproduct of those eight qualities that we cultivate in our life. The way the Archbishop phrased it is, “If you search after joy, you’re going to miss the bus.” You’re almost like it’s joy comes up as this surprise for everything that you have, the way you’re looking into your life, the way you’re approaching the sorrow that you encounter in your life, the way you’re treating other people, that’s what brings us joy.

Dr. Pedram:

That’s an operating system upgrade that I think most of us can use. You have these different criteria, so as information comes in and Lord knows, there’s plenty of information in our day and age, to make use feel like the world is crumbling and all these sorts of things. These guys both had it kind of rough. This has kind of proof positive that this interface is actually netting out this personality trait, which is a really interesting statement, a social statement and also a social experience that we can all start to be a part of as we step into this. One’s a Buddhist, one’s a Christian. This is really non-denominational in the kind of framework from what I’m hearing.

Douglas:

Yeah, it was really important to them. The Dalai Lama said to me when I met him before the dialogues and he said, “This is not a Buddhist book. This is not a Christian book. This must be a universal book.” I think that is also speaks to why the value of the science for them, which is this is not to be taken as an article of faith. This is about discovering the universal principles of being human. I think as you said so powerfully, when we kind of bring these two great world traditions of Buddhism and Christianity, these two amazing icons, and men who are very much in the world as well. The Archbishop has raised a family. They’ve both been engaged with realities and the necessities of life throughout their life.

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

We’re really just talking about what is it about this that is about being human, and how do we become more human. I think actually, that’s one of the things I would say. I’ve worked with the Archbishop for over a decade and I think one of the things you experience when you’re with him and I think you experienced it when you’re with the Dalai Lama is in some ways, we want to venerate these two men and say they’re beyond human. What they are is this full expression of what it’s like to be human, what you can aspire to, what we can all aspire to in our humanity. They’re just an extraordinary example of what that can look like when we are able to as you said, upgrade the system and be human 2.0 maybe.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah, and they’re living proof. That’s really, some would say that was Jesus’ role too, is to be living proof of that divinity in our incarnation and how one can do that through love, through whatever interface we’re talking about. They also did … South Africa had their Truth and Reconciliation Commission that Nelson Mandela initiated, and that was a really interesting bit of modern history where we learned from some very dark practices, some very dark times that if South Africa were to just suddenly go back and say, “Okay, now Black people in charge and White people out,” it would tear the fabric of that society.

There was this really interesting kind of heartfelt process, that really helped that country heal. I don’t know if you were with him during that time? I don’t think that that process gets enough press. I don’t think that people really understand how powerful that was and kind of the actual, the stated goal of reconciliation. Look, every country has got it’s problems but it’s a country that’s alive and well, and really came out of that in a positive way.

Douglas:

Yeah, it’s an important thing too. Many people who are listening to the podcast may not remember or may not even been alive when the Truth and Reconciliation happened. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison and became the president of South Africa after an apartheid regime which had oppressed the Black South Africans, he and Archbishop Tutu, but it was Nelson Mandela’s initiation, wanted to heal the country. The way to do that they knew was through forgiveness. Nelson Mandela asked Archbishop Tutu if he would be the chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

People were able to talk about what had happened, bring the truth to life and to be given amnesty, to not be sent to jail if they told the truth and if it was seen these were politically motivated acts. It was really an extraordinary experience of healing. The Archbishop told some stories from that, some incredible stories about hearing these unbelievable stories of brutality and anguish and being brought to tears, making what he called a public spectacle of himself because he was so moved by what he was hearing. One of the things that about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is the importance of forgiveness. One of the four pillars of the heart that they talk about in the pillars of joy is forgiveness, and how releasing that desire for a different past.

That ability to forgive and let go off the suffering that one has experienced, is so profound and so important for being able to actually be grateful and appreciative and experience your life now. We can’t be in joy if we’re constantly in bitterness and seeking revenge and thinking about how we’ve been wronged. That forgiveness which the Dalai Lama was very adamant is about, it was really wonderful to see him get all kind of upset. We gather actually a thousand questions from around the world that we had to riddle down and in terms of asking them these questions about joy. One of them was about whether forgiveness was weak. He said, “Forgiveness is not weak. Forgiveness is strength.” The Archbishop said, “Anybody who thinks that forgiveness is weak hasn’t tried it.” It was beautiful to see them talk about the importance of forgiveness not only for countries like South Africa, but the importance of finding forgiveness in our own lives as well.

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah, these guys, Dalai Lama was former head of state, technically head of some state in a weird way. Listen, China has been squeezing on for decades now. He’s got a lot to forgive. It’s the point where he couldn’t even go visit his buddy for his 80th birthday because South Africa had pressure put on it by China and basically he didn’t get his visa.

Douglas:

Right.

Dr. Pedram:

He’s still dealing with it everyday of his life and he’s still smiling.

Douglas:

We had a question from about, I think it was a fourth grader who actually wrote it in this wonderful fourth grade handwriting. “Can you forgive China?” It was quite amazing to how he … First of all, he separated forgiveness from seeking justice. Forgiving China doesn’t mean that he is willing to accept everything that’s being by Chinese officials in Tibet. He also made that big distinction between the Chinese people and the officials who are doing harm in Tibet, or who have occupied Tibet. He also quite powerfully just was willing to accept the humanity of the people and have compassion for the people who are even doing what in many cases is quite horrendous or heinous acts.

To recognize- It was quite powerful to hear him talk about how they are harming themselves from his perspective comically. You can actually feel sorry for these people who are doing these things that will lead to great suffering in this life or in the Buddhist concept, potentially another. That ability to have compassion for those who we often would want to have revenge against or was very powerful to see. It didn’t mean that it meant inaction or acquiescence. It meant that forgiveness ultimately was about letting go off … The Archbishop Tutu has written a whole book called the book of forgiving and talks about how forgiveness is giving up our right for revenge, because that’s our natural impulse.

We have a natural impulse hit back when we’re hit. We also have a natural impulse to want to forgive and it’s reconciling those two aspects of our humanity. That was the other thing I think, that was quite incredible to see, was that they just had this incredible acceptance and compassion for all of the ways that we are human, and all the ways that they are human. That was actually, it was interesting to see … They had some disagreement there in someways of how to deal with negative states, but it was really quite incredible to see the kind of love that they have, the self love, the love for others that allows this joy to take root as well.

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

Dr. Pedram:

This love, there are a lot of practices in Tibetan Buddhism that cultivate that.

Douglas:

Yeah.

Dr. Pedram:

These guys spend a lot of time chanting and getting into the heart and opening it up and obviously, in the Christian tradition, you cultivate love when you pray and you open up your heart.

Douglas:

Yeah.

Dr. Pedram:

How much of this kind of lineage driven love do you think has been embodied in them as well? Do you see the people around them also a reflection of some of these? Are these guys like remarkable examples that are unicorns or are they actually … You know what I’m saying? Or are they just kind of the figure heads of movements that are also bringing other people along this energy curve?

Douglas:

It’s a interesting question. I think the way that we explored it was the fact that compassion is really the heart of both Buddhism and Christianity. I think that they are these two traditions have just been extraordinary. Frankly, all the world’s traditions are trying to cultivate that heartfulness. In a phrase, one of the things that Dalai Lama said in our discussion was that really it is happiness and satisfaction in life is a warm heart and a healthy body. That warm-heartedness that you’re talking about was really central to their understanding of what leads to a joyful and fulfilling life. I think that their traditions are, every world tradition- Religion is a very complex and rich collection of different kinds of traditions.

I think as they understand their traditions at the heart of their traditions, is this desire to pursue compassion, to open the heart, to connect to the brain that we have up here in our heads with the brain that’s here around our chest, and connect that in a way that allows us to be wiser, and healthier and more generous. I definitely think … I think there are extraordinary examples, I don’t think they are the only ones out there. I don’t think they’re unicorns. I would think that they are touring examples. As I said, they’re very human. When we had this one of the great discussions in moments in our time together, we talked about the difference between joy and pleasure. As you probably know in Buddhism, often a lot of the goal is to detach from the senses and the kind of superficial sense of pleasure or superficial understanding of joy.

At one point, we were having lunch and the Dalai Lama was given a bowl of rice pudding. He turned to me and he said, “I love this.” It was just fantastic to see him really enjoying his lunch and that being spiritual, being this kind of serene spirituality and joyfulness does not mean that you deaden yourself to the pleasures of life. It doesn’t mean you deaden yourself to life. I think that was one of the other really key profound insights that came out of this dialogue, was that it’s really it’s not that you experience joy or you experience sorrow, it’s that they’re connected in a way that the more you actually face the sorrow and the suffering in your own life, or in others’ lives or in the world, the more your capacity for joy increases.

It’s really like a volume knob on life. You either turn it down and numb yourself to the pain, but also numb yourself to the joy, or you turn it up and then you experience both all of life more vibrantly, more fully. I think that’s really what you see when you look at them, is here are people who can … When you meet the Dalai Lama as your probably experienced, if you are in a state of sorrow of suffering, he will be with you in a way where he’s looking so deeply and experiencing what you’re experiencing. Paul [Ackerman 00:30:45] who’s one of the scientific researchers on emotion says he does this more than anyone he’s every encountered in his life.

That empathy and that deep connectedness. Then you’re gone and then the next person who comes is filled with joy and laughter and he’s there with joy and laughter. Some of these kind of trait of joy is the ability to allow the waves of joy and sorrow, of sadness and despair and grief and to wash over us, and not to take up residency in our lives in the way that we often do when we kind of ruminate on the negative experiences that we all have in our lives.

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

Dr. Pedram:

What we tend to do is to ruminate. The tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in general, and there’s several different like lineages and the bond. There’s different heads of states and different lineages, but he comes from a very regimented tradition. He’s up for the first time at the age of 80 dancing because it ain’t allowed. There’s lots of ritual, there’s lots of prayer. I’m curious whether or not you saw a crack in that concrete in the regimented Buddhist. It’s so much work being a Tibetan Buddhist in some ways, and now he’s out with scientists, he’s dancing with Desmond Tutu. Is there kind of a softening of the borders there where now it’s like he’s less Buddhist and more humanist. I don’t know if he’s allowed to even go there.

Douglas:

I think I wouldn’t necessarily make a distinction between Buddhist and humanist because I think he’s so deeply, deeply Buddhist. I think a lot of people in religious traditions of any sort get really caught up with the regimentation and the rituals and the routines in a way that can really cultivate some extraordinary humanity, and can in some cases become rigid and perhaps dampen that humanity. One of the ways, the story you’re referencing as we talked about was this incredible birthday celebration that we were able to have and that we talk about in the book, and just this amazing moment where the Dalai Lama who has not been allowed to dance because of his monastic vows was urged up by Archbishop Tutu’s irrepressible South African boogie, and got up and was doing a little shimmy and a little jazz hands. So beautifully was expressing that expression.

It was a very moving moment the school band, we were at one of the schools that the Dalai Lama has set up for children who live Tibet and because they’re not allowed to get a Tibetan education in Tibet. These children are sent with guides over these mountain passes, away from their families and often don’t see their families for 13 years. They often go as young as five and they might not see their families again until they’re adults if ever. We were in this incredible school called the Tibetan Children’s Village where these children are boarding and obviously, have experienced enormous suffering in the own lives. We actually part of the experience of the week was we had these children sharing their unbelievably heart-wrenching stories of leaving their families and coming to the Tibetan Children’s Village.

In the midst of these surrounded by these thousand, two thousand, five hundred kids, the Archbishop is saying to them, “I’m here to tell you that you will be reunited with your families. You will be someday dancing in the streets of Tibet.” The place was just- It was unbelievable just to see how it erupted with joy and hope. The band was playing, We are World and so the Archbishop got up there and he’s all elbows and he’s kind of doing his thing [boogieng 00:35:13] and he urges the Dalai Lama up and it was the Dalai Lama’s first dance. It was just magical and there’s a picture of that in the book.

Actually, some of the pictures and videos are also on the website, bookofjoy.org. People can see some of the video. We got eleven hours or incredible video that we’ve tried to edit down. There will be actually a documentary film that we’re working on as well based on this experience. Yeah, but it was so moving to be there and I think what we tried to do with the book was to allow everybody to be there and to experience this really directly.

Dr. Pedram:

Which is what books are for and what they’re about. You’ve captured a moment in history that is remarkable and now you’re immortalizing it by sharing it with everyone, and making sure that the spirit of that carries on and goes to all of walks. I’m assuming this book’s going to be translated into multiple languages and it’s going to be everywhere. It’s beautiful. Not only does it have a beautiful paper cover, it actually I was surprised to find that it’s actually kind of old school well designed hard cover the way they used to be.

A lot of book publishers get lazy about this. It’s a great looking book. I’ve only flipped through it and I’m going to be reading it this next month when I have some downtime and sitting with it. It’s called The Book of Joy by his holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with our good friend Douglas Abrams who is what a sweet, sweet energy you have. Man, you’ve done something right, you’ve done something right to be hanging out with the likes of these guys.

#Quote from @douglasabrams via @PedramShojai

Douglas:

Thank you, thank you so much. It was a deeply- It was the summit of a lifelong journey that required every ounce of skill and every ounce of my own suffering to be able to be there, and to be able to share this. Thank you for the historic moment. I think what we didn’t realize when we were putting this all together was really how historic this was and would be. This may be the last time they’re ever together. It certainly was the only time in their lives that they would have ever had this kind of time together.

It was a moment of extraordinary meeting. One of the things I guess that they would say is the quickest way to experience joy is to bring joy to others. What we didn’t realize was how much joy this would actually give them and what their meeting would mean to them. Getting this kind of time together and you just experience that and feel that. It’s a wonderful model of what’s possible for all of us.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah, and that’s just it. It’s an operating system upgrade. If this was all about saying, “Hey, these two guys are so special and lucky then look how happy they are,” that’s kind of boring, that’s not inspirational, right? It’s like, “Oh, man, now I’m bummed, I wish I could be that happy.” The point is they’ve drawn a path and they’re pulling us up with them on this path to a more joyful existence. It’s all of our path. We can all experience this.

Douglas:

Exactly, then it’s interesting, we didn’t anticipate this when we went to it, but in the end we included about fifty pages of their joy practices and their spiritual practices at the end of the book. Readers could actually do what they do when they’re faced with anger or sadness or suffering. It’s been very profound to be able to share those practices, to do those practices. I need to do them for a lot longer. It is a process and it is a model for all of us, and it’s been a joy to be able to help give it to the world, and play some small role in that.

Dr. Pedram:

There’s also kind of a disintermediation of all this. Back in the day, you don’t just go get the Dalai Lama’s joy practices and you treated this kind of transmission, or Desmond Tutu’s personal practices. These were all built into hierarchical systems and now you have the heads of lineages coming together and freely giving of all the special source because times have changed, and the world is different.

Douglas:

Yeah.

Dr. Pedram:

Lord knows the world needs it. These are magical, magical practices that come down from people who’ve run the miles and shown that they work. So all we got to do is plug in and do them. That’s on us, that’s on us as listeners and viewers, it’s on us to do the work and do the practice. Doug, man, this has been great. I really, really appreciate the work that you’ve done. Thank you for doing this.

Douglas:

Thank you, thank you.

Dr. Pedram:

It’s an important piece of work and I honor like everything that you’ve done around this.

Douglas:

Thank you. It’s been a real pleasure being with you today. It’s been fantastic and I’m just so excited about what this book can do for those who get the opportunity to read it. It has already transformed my life just being a part of it. Thank you so much.

Dr. Pedram:

Okay Doug, thank you. For those of you who have not checked it out, it’s called The Book of Joy and it’s going to be everywhere. This is Dr. Pedram Shojai, the Urban Monk. Hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think. Theurbanmonk.com, got lots of resources there and we’ll put links to all of this here as well. I will see you next time.

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