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I have two distinct icons that I absolutely love, admire and revere and that is the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu. The way that they have dealt with adversity in their lives and the absolute joy that radiates out of them despite all the adversities is something I strive to acquire in my life. Their compassion is beyond belief and their peace palpable. I recently reread their book after the great loss of Bishop Desmond Tutu and have found such great value in their words that I would love to share it with all.

They summarise what they regard as the eight pillars of joy and they are as follows :

4 Qualities of the mind -

Perspective : There are Many Different Angles

From one angle an event might look bad or sad, but from another perspective and a different angle the same event might become a new opportunity with new relationships and/or freedom.

Humility : Humble and Modest

Consider yourself as just another human, nothing superior, just the same as every other human being.

Humour : Laughter; Joking is much better

Wholehearted laughter is good for the heart. People who are always laughing have a sense of abandon and ease. Laughter and humour can be seen as a universal index of spiritual development.

Acceptance : The only place where change can begin

The ability to accept our lives in all its pain, imperfection and beauty. We can turn our faces to the wind and accept that this is the storm we must pass through.

4 Qualities of the heart -

Forgiveness : Freeing ourselves from the past

Strength and nobility of spirit is required, but we all have the potential to be instruments of incredible compassion and forgiveness and forgiveness frees up the one who forgives.

Gratitude : I am fortunate to be alive

The ability to see wonder, surprise, possibility in each experience and each encounter. Literally count your blessings every day.

Compassion : Something we want to become

Self-centred thinking is the source of suffering. When you possess compassion, you have all the other virtues. Compassion has the ability to transform.

Generosity : We are filled with joy

It is in giving that we receive. It is an expression of our interdependence and our need for one another. It is associated with better health and longer life expectancy.

Go out and celebrate life and living with yourself and others! For joy is lived in deep, loving and generous relationships with others.

With thanks to “The Book of Joy” by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams

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