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Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to True Happiness

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  355 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews

Awakening Joy is more than just another book about happiness. More than simply offering suggested strategies to change our behavior, it uses time-tested practices to train the mind to learn new ways of thinking. The principles of the course are universal, although much of the material includes Buddhist philosophy drawn from the author’s thirty years as a Buddhist meditatio
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 11th 2012 by Parallax Press (first published December 17th 2009)
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Experience Life
Jul 08, 2010 Experience Life rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who knew that remembering a positive experience could actually change your brain? Research shows that our gray matter is entirely susceptible to being rewired by pleasing thoughts. Better yet, the more we dwell on them, the more the brain begins to develop a habit or “inclination” to joy.

Authors James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander proffer a wealth of such facts to underscore the value of a happiness practice; they also help to show that real joyfulness is an easier state to maintain than you migh
Sep 22, 2012 Katy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
This book covers the basics of Buddhist meditation practice with an emphasis on cultivating joy. It is good but not spectacular, although it does contain some gems. It probably works better for beginning students as opposed to advanced practitioners. It has almost no technical Buddhist terminology in it. What lowers the rating for me is that I don't really like the format--it has a lot of inserts and sidebars. And, it is written by two people. Each of these makes it jarring to read--the flow is ...more
I really enjoyed James Baraz's 4-part talk on Happiness so I was happy to see that he just published a book based on his happiness workshops. You would think a book about joy would be an easy read. The writing style is accessible yet the content is hardcore in a helpful way. The book offers practical methods for facing what's difficult in life so that you can clear a path to a more fulfilling life - and that includes stories that will bring tears to your eyes. For instance, the story of the moth ...more
Jun 21, 2011 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really got "in there" for me. Here's an example, from p.199
.... As Catherine recognized, being kind to ourselves includes not condemning ourselves for the feelings that arise. It doesn't make sense to say, "I shouldn't be feeling what I'm feeling." Feelings arise in response to a complex of conditions. You don't say, "I could go for some fear right now" or, "How about a little self-hatred for a minute?" It's not like you have a choice about what pops into your mind. But you do have a
Feb 04, 2017 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: book-group
Meh. I read with a few friends while taking the Awakening Joy class online. The course was also meh. Baraz talked about why you might want to meditate but didn't assume that the reader was a meditator. I have been meditating for some time, and the focus of this complemented my practice, but didn't much enhance it.

If I wasn't reading it for my group, I wouldn't have finished it.
Meg Nalezny
Nov 05, 2010 Meg Nalezny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting. A little more self-help-y than I had anticipated, since I have heard the authors speak and they were quite different in their presentation. But I think they were trying to reach a wide range of people with the book, which I appreciate.

Worth reading, for sure!
A great introduction to mindfulness, but it's long-winded as hell. Every point gets hammered home and then hammered again and again. Then you meet lots of happy people who suddenly develop cancer. Seriously, everyone gets cancer. I know these are real stories, but christ. Kind of a downer.
Allan Feldt
Oct 21, 2012 Allan Feldt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

So insightful and such a different approach that it was like a breath of fresh air.
Feb 14, 2017 Jillian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good. My first self-help book. Just read the book- I did not participate in the online course. Loved the stories from actual course participants. I also loved how it drew from various teachings and teachers. Learned a lot from the exercises and I have a bunch of pages bookmarked for when I need them! A lot of valuable lessons in this book. I recommend :)
Jul 31, 2011 L8start rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, easy read: James Baraz includes lots of anecdotes and testimonials throughout the book. Of course it all comes back to meditation and awareness. He is a cofounder of Spirit Rock, so mindfulness is the foundation of his work. A couple of things that hit home for me: "...and now I get to..." as I move from activity to activity, and "...and my life is really quite blessed" as dose of reality in the midst of it all. The $5 advice he got from a psychic rings true: "Fear blocks any movement on yo ...more
Feb 26, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was going to be new age-hokey but it actually was pretty good, with some research to back it up. Basically, it is a primer on using mindfulness meditation techniques to find greater happines in one's life. Someone who has a ton of mindfulness meditation experience would probably find it too basic but as a beginner, I liked it and have been recommending it. The only thing I didn't like is that there are tons of quotes from historical figures, people who took his seminars, etc. ...more
Jan 30, 2017 Klanderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a GOOD read for our crazy times. I like the 1o steps towards the road of real happiness. Based on a course (live and online), there is some good guidance to reflection on how to be a happy person, buddhism-style. I'll purchase this book so I can reread and meditate on some of the ideas. I liked how I could read a chapter or section and put it down. Not a page turner, but a solid book on reflection.
Louise Silk
Dec 26, 2011 Louise Silk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirit, self-help
This book is also an on-line ten-step course to develop and use joy in everyday living. It is living proof that real joy is available everywhere in everything.

Readers and/or participants learn ideas built on a spiritual framework and coupled with techniques and skills that make this a very doable hands-on self-help practice, perfect for a wide range of readers if you are sincere about releasing the sorrow and fostering a greater sense of joy in your life.
Michelle Fury
This is a great primer for those who haven't delved into mindfulness before. It does take a somewhat one-sided view of things, because the emphasis is on joy. So at times, it read a little schmaltzy to me. Also, this book is based on a course that Baraz teaches, and so sometimes I felt like I was reading an extended ad for that training. On the bright side, reading this book helped remind me in my own mindfulness practice to actively cultivate joy, and that's a plus.
May 25, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The authors have conducted many workshops about 10 steps that will put a person on the road to real happiness. They share stories of many of their class pariticipants who had life-altering experienced along with the wisdom gained from teaching classes, researching, and studying the art of finding authentic joy in living. This book is an incredible accomplishment!
Jan 18, 2016 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It takes a long time and much practice to learn to deal with life and all its ups and downs. I really appreciate books that give me clues in how to do this as well as how to become a better person in general. So, I save these kinds of books and re-read them over and over. Repetition helps me finally "get it." Loved this gentle guide to skillful living and will share with others.
Mar 22, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My therapist wanted me to read this. I am a dutiful patient, so I did.

At times, it was a little hippy dippy for me (as is my therapist, really), but at other times it was very insightful (as is therapist, really). There was enough to take out of the book for me that I am glad I spent my time reading it. And yes, I'll keep seeing the therapist.
Trish Severns
One of my small groups read this book together, including practicing several of the exercises. I think my group-mates got a little more out of the book than I did, but I got at least one valuable take-away, ending every complaint with the tag line ...and I am blessed! The format lent itself well to a 12 week session.
Sep 29, 2015 Linh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great lessons and stories to live life.

Highly recommend to everyone in the world. Especially helpful for those dealing with difficulty or tragedy in their lives, or simply looking for peace.
Mar 24, 2016 Claudine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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. Thank you for such a guide!
Mar 08, 2012 Chloe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: counseling
Great book. I did have a hard time getting through some parts, but that's really because some parts are just hard to work through as a human being. This book is transformational. I first bought it on the Kindle, and wound up getting a hard copy that I plan to read once again.
Elizabeth Alley
So far so good. This is a book club read, but I actually like this!

Update: Very good. A nice mix of tried and true practices, interesting and relevant stories, and some less than well known parables. Baraz strikes a nice balance here.
Jeanette   Dick
Gets a little boring at parts

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.
Feb 08, 2015 Lill rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I should have read this straight through and then go back and review as the group does each chapter. Things read in this book keep popping up in other materials that I encounter. It is very helpful
Very good. Lots of things to think about in it.
Jul 11, 2010 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Think i am going to have do the online course next year
Kate Blumenthal
Apr 09, 2014 Kate Blumenthal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who truly want to be happy
Recommended to Kate by: Jim and Joy
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a book about practicing happiness and needs to read continuously.
Karen Dill-Shackleford
Reading this with a student...checking in on what's important in life. I find it very straightforward and also useful and clear headed.
Oct 05, 2016 Piya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The last chapter is all we need. Joy is always there. Let us be. Relax into the moments. We are nothing! True joy is there.
Viki Sonntag
The practices are wonderful but the writing felt processed. So sad.
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Thirstylife: Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness 2 5 Oct 27, 2013 08:57PM  
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“RAIN When you are in the midst of a strong emotion, take a few moments to try this approach: Recognize what you are feeling and name it. Anger, fear, sadness, confusion? Allow the feelings to be present, without pushing them away and without getting lost in them. Investigate the feelings in your body and mind. Explore the landscape of the emotion with curiosity and interest. Where in your body do you feel it? How does it feel in your mind—heavy, tight, open, agitated? Non-identification is the key to freeing yourself from the emotion’s grip. Don’t take it personally. What you are feeling is a human emotion that arises and passes away. It does not define who you are.” 0 likes
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