James Baraz (Part 2) – Awakening Joy: Life Skills for Living, Loving, Enjoying, and Serving Life to the Full
“Don’t miss it!” says James Baraz, author of Awakening Joy and creator of the very intriguing 5-month Awakening Joy course. “Don’t miss it” refers to the present moment—the gladness, the beauty, the uniqueness. James explains that in order to awaken our joy, we need to savor the wholesome moments and not turn away distracted, slipping back into our habitual mental ruts. James’ teachings take us deeply into states like gratitude and compassionate presence, to where we can focus our attention on how it feels to feel good somatically, thereby creating new neural pathways that strengthen awareness and aliveness. James has witnessed a lot of people learn to love themselves and turn their lives around as a result of this teaching. Why are we the last ones to see the goodness inside ourselves? he wonders. How can we so radically underestimate ourselves?
Rest in the landscape of gratitude when James guides a short meditation in part 2, and be inspired that transformational change is indeed possible for all of us—to where we can know the joy of loving ourselves, of connecting with others, the joy of letting go, of service, and the joy of simply being—as we undertake the fundamental experiment of discovering who we really are. Recorded September 14, 2022.
“A simple shift of perspective is transformative.”
Topics & Time Stamps – Part 2
- Train your mind to be on the lookout for the good and notice how it feels to feel good somatically; this will deepen the neural pathways (00:59)
- James guides a short experiential gratitude practice, where we deepen into feeling how gratitude itself actually feels (05:14)
- When James lost his joy: how unwholesome states lead to more suffering (11:27)
- Cultivating wholesome states: maintain and increase wholesome states, but don’t hold onto them (16:06)
- Awakening Joy’s 10 steps to happiness relate to the 10 states we want to cultivate (18:52)
- Intention is the beginning; choosing how to process what’s happening (19:49)
- Mindfulness: presence deepens the healthy states (21:44)
- Gratitude “opens our satellite dish to all the blessings in life”(23:00)
- Opening to the hard stuff, all the suffering in life (23:13)
- Integrity, the foundation of well-being (23:31)
- The joy of letting go: of stuff, of busyness, of our stories (24:52)
- The joy of loving ourselves and learning to see who we really are (26:47)
- The difference between narcissism and loving yourself, and the Judeo-Christian myth of needing redemption (27:41)
- The joy of connection with others, includes forgiveness (31:07)
- Compassion, the caring heart that wants to relieve suffering (31:34)
- The joy of simply being and the underlying nature of reality (32:13)
- States of contraction vs states of expansion: Sat Chit Ananda (34:39)
Resources & References – Part 2
- C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life*
- Rick Hanson, Neurodharma*, see also Deep Transformation episode How We Can Hack Our Brain Using Neuroscience to Become Happier, Healthier, More Transcendent, and Turn Altered States to Enduring Traits
- Ram Dass, one of James’ main teachers, Be Here Now*
- Ram Dass, Miracle of Love: Stories About Neem Karoli Baba*
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living*
- The 4 Noble Truths of Buddhism
- Meher Baba, Indian spiritual master, Meyer Baba’s Life & Message (YouTube video)
- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama: Compassion and the Individual (on selfish altruism)
- The Gospel of Thomas, “The kingdom of heaven is within you!”
- Satcitananda, the nature of ultimate reality
- James Baraz’ Awakening Joy 5-month Course: 10 Steps to a Happier Life
- James Baraz & Shoshana Alexander, Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness*
- James Baraz & Michele Lilyanna, Awakening Joy for Kids*
- One Earth Sangha, virtual EcoDharma center devoted to Buddhist responses to climate change
* As an Amazon Associate, Deep Transformation earns from qualifying purchases.
5-Month Awakening Joy Course, January 31-June 6, 2023
For information about the 5-month course and James Baraz’ teaching schedule, click here: www.awakeningjoy.info.
James Baraz has been teaching mindfulness meditation for over 40 years in the U.S. and internationally, and is a founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center. James has been leading the online course Awakening Joy since 2003 and is co-author of Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness and Awakening Joy for Kids. He also serves as a guiding teacher to One Earth Sangha, a Virtual EcoDharma Center devoted to Buddhist responses to Climate Change.
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Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell
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