One of the ten principles in the Awakening Joy course is "The Joy of Letting Go." Here's an excerpt from the 2014 course where I talk about the predicament of holding on that we often get caught in and the freedom that comes from learning to let go. Hope you enjoy it. Warm wishes ~James To watch this video on YouTube, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7jGXsJ1NXM
Category Archives: Joy in Difficult Times
Holding Hands Together: From Helplessness to Empowerment
Since the presidential election, no matter who your chosen candidate was, you will probably agree that we have entered uncharted territory as a new administration, with no prior experience in government, is running the most powerful country on the planet. There are many thrilled at the possible change of direction. But there are also many more who are filled with anxiety, despair and other negative emotions. Given the culture of “othering” so prevalent these days this is especially true for those so often marginalized: immigrants, People of Color, LGBT and other non-white, non-mainstream groups. For them this has been a traumatic experience, a seismic shakeup of reality. We’ve moved from “the audacity of hope” to a philosophy of fear and hatred. Whatever one’s …
What if you have resistance to letting yourself be happy?
Watch James respond to this comment: "Before class I have tremendous resistance to coming here. There's something in turning towards being happy that seems like I'm not being a good world changer. I'm examining my navel. It feels selfish. And there is some resistance to the possibility that I could actually be…happy."
Working with the Hard Stuff: Courage to Open to the Whole Show
There is a Taoist teaching that life is made up of 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows. The more we see that both are a natural part of the fabric of life, the less we contract against the difficulties or hold on tightly to the delights. We can hold our challenging situations in a wider perspective that includes the blessings as well. In Buddhist philosophy, real happiness comes not by avoiding suffering but by understanding it deeply. In our willingness to be with it instead of protecting ourselves from it, we’re not adding another layer of contraction and fear to what is already here. We can then learn to meet our pain with compassion, fearlessness, wisdom and clarity. In learning to cultivate more …
Allow Action To Absorb Anxiety
By harnessing the energy of anxiety and channeling it, it is possible to transform the negative energy to something more #joyful. James explains why taking action when dealing with anxiety is SO important.
James Baraz & Debra Chamberlin-Taylor on Self-Compassion
We hope you enjoy this video highlight from a previous Awakening Joy class on Forgiveness and Self-Compassion with James Baraz and Debra Chamberlin-Taylor. May you hold your suffering with kindness. Thank you for watching. For more Awakening Joy video highlights, please visit our Facebook Page or our YouTube Channel.
7 Simple Practices to Really Enjoy the Holidays
With the holidays upon us, is it possible to really make it a season of good cheer, even in what for many, are times of uncertainty and concern? How can we stay grounded and present and still let ourselves feel the holiday spirit? Though the next gadget or experience may bring fleeting pleasure, genuine happiness is about how we feel inside. To really enjoy the holidays, it's helpful to understand that true well-being is directly related to how contracted or open your mind feels. Contraction means stress. Openness allows you and others to feel your care and love. For true well-being, try these simple practices that will keep you connected to healthy mind states and help you really enjoy the holidays: …
Thanksgiving Reflection: Grace Disguised as Obstacles
With Thanksgiving upon us this is the time to reflect on the blessings in our life. Gratitude is one of the most direct ways to open the heart and awaken joy. Gratitude is said to be an antidote to anger, worry, doubt, wanting. It has also been shown to intensify positive memories by reflecting with appreciation on how they have impacted us. Gratitude is said to be the antidote to the complaining mind. In his Discourse on Blessings, the Buddha talks of the great blessings in a human life. Here are some of them: to live in a place that is good for you, to do good deeds, to keep yourself going in the right direction, to be well educated, develop …
Equanimity: Finding Balance in Difficult Times
These are times of uncertainty and concern. Since the presidential election, no matter who your chosen candidate was, we are all entering uncharted territory as a new administration, with no prior experience in government, is about to run the most powerful country on the planet. There are many people thrilled at the possible change of direction. And there are also many who are filled with anxiety, despair and other negative emotions. Especially for immigrants, People of Color, LGBT and other non-white, non-mainstream groups, there’s good cause for fear and concern given the “culture of othering” that is so prevalent these days. Whatever one’s party affiliation or non-affiliation, high-level appointments have to be cause for apprehension and worry for most dharma practitioners. These …
Finding Joy In Difficult Times
Dear Friends, Friday, March 20th is the annual UN International Day of Happiness. I hope you are in touch with all the blessings in your life and sharing happiness with others. The Awakening Joy course current theme is "Finding Joy in Difficult Times." I hope you enjoy this wonderful video clip of beloved teacher, Sylvia Boorstein from last year's AJ class talking about how the difficulties in life connect us all and can open the heart. It reminds me of the moving words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." Enjoy the International Day of Happiness. With best wishes, ~James https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57w60nE-vcw