James Baraz (Part 3) – Awakening Joy: Life Skills for Living, Loving, Enjoying, and Serving Life to the Full

Awakening Joy Serving Life James Baraz

“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.”

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 3

  • Joy and awakening take a lot of courage; fear is really saying, “About to grow!” – Jack Kornfield (00:51)
  • Reaching out for support is a reflection of health, not weakness (05:25)
  • We are all transmitters of the energy of life: the ripple effects of joy (08:34)
  • Why doesn’t everyone see the power in seeing the good? (14:00)
  • What are the most life-changing discoveries that people make in the Awakening Joy course? (15:57)
  • What are James’ practices today? Showing up for the world: joy and activism, opening to the pain in the world (19:32)
  • Looking through 3 lenses: gratitude, compassion, and equanimity—to avoid denial, overwhelm, and disengagement (21:02)
  • How can we be agents of healing, agents of consciousness? (25:47)
  • This is the moment we were born for (27:41)
  • We have made the face of the world into a reflection of the state of our minds (30:17)
  • The wealth of giving to life, serving life (32:41)
  • One Earth Sangha, virtual ecodharma center (34:59)

Resources & References – Part 3

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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 Awakening Joy

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.

Mind Our Democracy is a new project/movement to help meditation, yoga, and other spiritual students navigate these perilous and fraught times with engagement, wisdom, and heart. It’s completely non-partisan, encouraging folks to vote for compassion, kindness, and inclusivity in this pivotal moment. Visit the mindourdemocracy.com website to see the inspiring video with Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Seane Corn, and other leaders, as well as a set of resources to inspire civic engagement within contemplative communities like yours. Then join our movement and share it with others.

Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell

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