“The Book of Joy,” by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams
(Avery, pp 356, $26.00)
A major contradiction lies at the heart of Western societies. The constant pressure towards the quest for happiness. It is no secret that the pressure to be happy creates more anxiety than happiness. Tons of books from fields as varied as sociology, psychology or self-help, have attempted to deal with this issue. Often providing short-time relief with Band-aid remedies, which, as their names indicate, never last over time. Even before pre-Socratic thinkers it was known that happiness never comes from achievement or success, or wealth, or even fame for that matter. And yet, our Western societies keep on promoting these values, with disastrous results on its members. Depression, neurosis, feeling of inadequacies, feeding an endless loop of existential FOMO, and so on, abound around us.
“The Book of Joy,” is one of those timeless books that aims at cutting straight through the glut of daily self-pressured drives and bad self-talk. Written by the Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, with Doug Abrams, “The Book of Joy,” details their conversations, which took place over a one-week period in Dharamsala, India. The goal of the book, beyond reuniting the two spiritual leaders, was to teach the world that the quest for happiness is precisely a futile endeavor, because it is ephemeral. They profess instead to rely on joy, at any moment in life. Especially in time of tragedy and great suffering. Both of them are living proofs, having witnessed countless atrocities. “Every tragic situation can become an opportunity.” Abrams who has a strong Eastern interest translates the teaching into accessible lessons. The message is clear and easily absorbed. But like all disciplines, mastery requires a daily practice. No way around it.
“The Power of Off,” By Nancy Colier
(Sounds True Publishing, $16.95)
Effective mindfulness practices for transforming your relationship with technology and reconnecting with your real life.
Our reliance on technology is rapidly changing how each of us experiences life. We’re facing new issues and difficulties, we’re encountering new emotional triggers, and we’re relating to each other in new ways. As Nancy Colier writes, “How we spend our time, what motivates us, and what we want are all are on a radical course of transformation.” The promise of technology is that it will make our lives easier; yet to realize that promise, we cannot be passive users—we must bring awareness and mindfulness to our relationships with our devices.
“The compulsion to constantly check our devices plays on primal instincts,” teaches Colier. “Even people with strong spiritual practices or those who have never had other addiction issues now find themselves caught in the subtle trap of these miraculous tools we’ve created.” Through The Power of Off, she offers us a path for making use of the virtual world while still feeling good, having healthy relationships, and staying connected with what is genuinely meaningful in life. You’ll explore:
- How and why today’s devices push our buttons so effectively, and what you can do to take back control of your life
- Tips for navigating the increasingly complex ways in which technology is affecting our relationships—with ourselves, others, and our devices themselves
- Self-evaluation tools for bringing greater awareness to your use of technology
- Mindfulness practices for helping you interact with your devices in more conscious ways
- A 30-day digital detox program to kick-start a new healthier relationship with technology
With The Power of Off, Colier sounds the call for wakefulness, reminding us that we can use technology in a way that promotes, rather than detracts from, our well-being. This book provides an essential resource for anyone wanting to create a more empowered relationship with technology in the digital age.