Mission Joy: Finding Happiness in a Troubled World  (This movie aligns with  ‘The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a  changing World 

On December 2nd, with the generous support of Interfaith Power and Light, the Mt Baker Meaningful Movies group hosted a Community Conversation about the movie, Mission Joy. The article below was written by Iris Antman, a practicing Buddhist, activist, environmentalist, and seeker. 

 

I was asked to help facilitate a discussion of the movie Mission Joy:  Finding Happiness in a Troubled World based on the book ‘The Book of  Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World’. The movie link had been made available to Mt. Baker Meaningful Movies prior to the discussion  through Interfaith Power and Light. Our discussion with just a handful of  participants was nevertheless intimate and heartfelt.

 

It is hard to be in the company of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHDL) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu even  just watching a movie or reading a  book, without feeling embraced by their irrepressible and authentic  expressions of love and care and deep respect for each other and for all  beings.

 

Two of the messages I took away from the movie are as follows. First, even in the face of great personal and/or collective suffering, and probably  because of the suffering inherent in being a human being, both HHDL and Archbishop Tutu demonstrate in exemplary fashion that we are able to access deep joy, compassion, love and respect for ourselves and for  others.

 

Through practices of prayer and meditation, exploring the ideas of  perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance (which are referred to as the  four pillars of the mind), and forgiveness, gratitude, compassion and  generosity (four pillars of the heart), we are able to access these qualities  within our own hearts and minds. With consistent and steadfast practice, we learn the difference between the fleeting pleasures of external, material  experience and the deeper and longer lasting inner states of joy and  peace. This is not to say that pleasurable experience is bad or a problem, rather, if we cling to them thinking we can hold on to them, we will  always be disappointed. The nature of reality is change, impermanence. Just look in the mirror. Deeper joy, that which is accessible to all of us no  matter what our external circumstances, is attainable through the concepts  (pillars) mentioned above.

  

These ideas are woven through all of the great religious and spiritual  traditions of the world and more recently scientific studies have shown that people are happier when they’re more generous and more caring to  others.

 

The second important message from the movie is the key importance of  relationship, relationship with ourselves, with other humans and with all living (and nonliving) things. The concept of ‘ubuntu’ Archbishop Tutu said, is about humans being humans only in relationship with other  humans. When we ponder this carefully, we come to realize that we could  not exist without others: those who grow and harvest our food, create the  medicines we use, make the clothes we wear, our mothers and fathers  who birthed us and cared for us, our teachers, friends, and communities who  nurture us. Without all of these elements we wouldn’t be here. We are made to be in  relationship and according to both HHDL and Archbishop Tutu we are hardwired for caring and compassion. We have ‘basic goodness’.

 

While we work to meet the challenges of our individual, familial,  community and global lives, let’s remember to practice with the eight  pillars of joy to enrich our hearts and minds, and  allowing us to  reach out to each other to create a more loving and just world.