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Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness Hardcover – January 12, 2010
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"Baraz turned Awakening Joy into a six-month class and found that participants maintained a positive attitude even after it ended (as long as they practiced the exercises; as with diets or working out, continuity is essential). Word of mouth about the course that could make people happier began to spread: The first round of Awakening Joy meetings consisted of about 40 members. The next numbered 100; the next, 200, and then 500. It went international when its members began e-mailing their monthly homework assignments from the lectures to friends. Baraz was thrilled to receive messages from strangers in Europe, Africa, and New Zealand. 'It works!' they wrote. Apparently, you didn't have to be there to get the joy."
O, The Oprah Magazine
"The readings evoke the feeling of sharing an intimate conversation with a wise teacher over a cup of tea. They are gentle, personal, and helpful...The lessons offered in Awakening Joy are highly relevant for beginning and experienced practitioners of mindfulness because they bring a fresh and unique perspective to many of the core teachings and practices of Buddhism."
"Awakening Joy can lead each of us to live with dignity, compassion, and gracious freedom. Read these words slowly. Savor them and practice the exercises in this book. Use them to open your heart and transform your life. Your days on Earth will be full of blessings."
Jack Kornfield, author of the best-selling A Path with Heart
About the Author
Shoshana Tembeck Alexander has studied Buddhism since the early 1970s and is the author of In Praise of Single Parents and Women’s Ventures, Women’s Visions. She has guided the work of several prominent Buddhist authors, including Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, and Wes Nisker. She lives in Ashland, Oregon.
Top Customer Reviews
Although clearly predisposed to doubt, I started reading Awakening Joy on Amazon, checking out the first chapter for free, and to my surprise I was hooked. So much that I got the book AND signed up for the class. In case you haven't figured it out yet, there is a class you can take that goes with the book, and each month one chapter is covered. I'll write a little more about the class at the end of this review. For now, just the book...
If you are like I was, and not sure whether to read this book, definitely start with the free preview on Amazon, and see what you think. I have noticed some reviewers who think the writing style is too cheesy. Well I anticipated exactly that. But to me, it does not read that way. I can see how this book might not be for everyone, but like my coworker said, do give it a chance.
My concern was there because 1.) it was written by a Buddhist practitioner, 2) it is called Awakening Joy, and 3) the very fact that there is a class that goes with the book. I even wondered if this program was an entry into some kind of cult! (of course it's not!)
Regarding the religious part - Being raised in a Buddhist/Jewish family, on one hand I have an affinity toward Buddhist philosophy. On the other, I am a devout agnostic who does not wish to commit to any religion. I have a hard time with any practice that requires me to have "faith" or what feels to me like superstition.Read more ›
As a longtime meditation teacher, Baraz distills three decades of inquiry into the mind into this down-to-earth primer. Written with the gifted editor Shoshana Alexander,
the book evokes the warmth of a satisfying conversation--actually a series of conversations--with a wise friend. And make no mistake: Baraz is wise. And compassionate, giving and optimistic. He's also a gifted teacher. Among his gifts? Advocating joy as a gateway to pass through on the journey to self-awareness.
To those readers brought up believing in narrow-minded, "should-"oriented approaches to living, awakening joy as a means of achieving personal growth might seem contraindicated--somehow jumping ahead of struggle, pain and suffering (the trinity of stages personal growth many believe we must first pass through to reach higher states of happiness). Such an approach misses the mark--by a wide margin. Baraz is not so much suggesting an "eat dessert first" approach to living as much as saying dessert is available all the time in succulent, small bites. If we pay attention enough to notice.Read more ›
When I read Awakening Joy, I experienced a serenity that I hadn't felt in some time. James Baraz gave me a strong sense of what I DID have and what I COULD do to appreciate the special moments in the here and now that held purpose and joy. I liked the structure of his book, a finely woven tapestry of personal narrative (he's "walked the walk"), philosophical and scientific perspectives that gave credence to his views, and first hand experiences of his students who have used the techniques from his AJ course (mindfulness, loving kindness, gratitude, among others)to effect personal change. I tried some of the simple highlighted suggestions and they worked.
Baraz speaks directly to his reader in a positive, reassuring and encouraging tone that's not preachy or schmaltzy. Combined with a few humorous asides, he even elicited an easy smile or two as I read. I learned that in our fast-paced, demanding world, we don't have to look far for the most meaningful and gratifying moments -- they are within us.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have read 12 books on the subjects of joy and happiness for a book project. This is the best one on the methods of cultivating happiness and joy. Baraz is a very good writer. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Richard Mcknight
The steps in this book are deceptively simple, but do make a difference.Published 29 days ago by Denise
Well written, a joy to read. Each chapter has touched me and taught me more than I expected. Something "clicked" and has helped the beginning of my experience with awakening joy. Read morePublished 1 month ago by RosieBella
Still reading taking my time pondering my readings and feelings as i go alongPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I love this book
I will recommend it to my friends.
If everybody can perfect this technique, this world can become
A perfect place.
This is a good book but gets a little boring in some parts. I found some of this book to be inspiring and feel it will help me out for future reference.Published 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
My therapist recommended this book. I offers 10 practices to improve one's quality of life. I have applied them to my life and have experienced a great shift toward happiness.Published 8 months ago by Phoebe
This is an easy interesting read. It opens some doors into a way to view the world with more generosity and compassion for others- and for yourself. Read morePublished 10 months ago by J. Stephens