Hello there, readers!
We at WomenNow hope that you and your families are taking care of yourselves and staying safe. We all find ourselves in an extraordinary time. Whoever imagined that life will come to a stand-still like this? While you may not be able to move around as freely, one can always transport themselves to another world from the comfort of their homes. You can always lose yourself in the world of books. And escape this reality for some time. I’m sure that when you come back, life will be a little better.
What is better than reading with a group of friends and sitting down with them to discuss the wonders you all explored? Reading with like-minded people from around the world.
To help make your lockdown life a little better, we bring to you the WomenNow Book Club!
What is the WomenNow Book Club? How does it work?
The WomenNow Book Club is a monthly, virtual coming together of all our readers to read and talk about a book. Much like every other book club, we will be deciding a book of the month. This will be done at the beginning of each month. The announcement will be made via a blog about the book on our website and posts on our social media account. All through the month, we will post quotations and interesting facts from the book on our social media, which you can engage with. Don’t worry, we won’t post any spoilers. Write to us about your experience of reading the book of the month and your message might feature in the next Book Club blog. You can write in the comments section of our social media posts, or email us at [email protected]
You don’t need to register anywhere to be a part of the WomenNow Book Club. This club is open to everyone who wishes to join a community of readers. The book of the month announcements will be made in the first week of each month. Although half of May is already gone, we would like to celebrate the beginning of this club by announcing the first book of our Book Club in this blog.
Book of the Month: The Book of Joy
Book: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
Authors: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams
Genre: Self-help, Philosophy
These are tough times. Trying times. And it can be very difficult to find happiness in such a scenario. It is difficult, but not impossible. Or maybe it isn’t happiness that we should be looking for. Maybe there is something far more satisfying. Something that will help us get through the seemingly never-ending turmoil. As the two learned and wise men tell us in The Book of Joy, happiness is temporary, joy is eternal. Our book of the month isn’t just any self-help book that is going to give you some tips that you will follow for a month and then forget. When I first recommended The Book of Joy to my mother, she too was apprehensive about reading it. “These books are good to read, but applying them in real life is impossible and impractical,” were her words. If you share my mother’s opinions or some version of it, here’s a list of reasons that will prove you wrong. And this isn’t just my word, this list also includes the arguments of my mother, the sceptic-turned-fan of the book.
- This book brings together two of the wisest men on the planet
I don’t need to write a testament to the wisdom of either His Holiness the Dalai Lama or of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. All of us have shared one of their many quotable quotes on social media at least once. Now more than ever, the wisdom of these men stands to benefit humanity as a whole. Starting with their views on how we can achieve long-lasting happiness. Each of them draws from life experiences and the multitude of knowledge they have earned over the years to give all the readers of this book their roadmap to eternal joy. This book doesn’t just present one view of what happiness is, but a range of ways. I’m sure all of you will find your route while reading this book.
- It brings together a philosophy that is backed by science
I know the conundrum here. Asking anyone to read a book by two religious leaders has its apprehensions. But it cannot be said in clearer words that this book isn’t a collection of religious principles that we all must follow. Throughout the book, you will find psychological and other scientific studies backing a lot of the advice given by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu. While they do refer to teachings from religious scriptures, the book isn’t dominated by those. And from my own experience, all the religious references in this book make it all the more enriching. It opens the readers into new revelations about other religions.
- The book doesn’t just give you advice, it gives you the motivation to follow it
“It’s easy for them to live like that. Average people can’t follow the footsteps of people like the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu.” Every time I implore a sceptic to read this book, I hear some version of this statement. I should also clear one thing. Learning and applying from this book is as easy as starting a workout routine for a healthier body. Every effort in the right direction requires focus and continuous practice. You don’t have to be a monk or renounce everything to follow the teachings given in this book. It’s a simple matter of consciously trying to apply what you have read. Through personal anecdotes and encouraging words, the authors of this book motivate the reader to imbibe what they have read into their lives.
- This book isn’t about religion, it’s about life
I cannot stress enough how widely applicable this book is to all our lives. The purpose of this book, as I understand it, is to bring joy to everyone’s lives. These two great men, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and H.H. the Dalai Lama have written about a meaning of true happiness that applies to all of us. Let’s think back to our lives before the COVID-19 pandemic. The hectic lifestyle had pulled us all apart. We were having less and lesser time to do what truly made us happy. And tension and worry had taken up all of our time. Humanity as a whole has forgotten what it means to be happy. Through this book, we can all aim to live a life where the external factors of our existence don’t affect us anymore. Where we develop a joy that is eternal and gives us the strength to overcome all obstacles of our daily lives.
- It leaves you with ideas to last a lifetime
Anyone who truly puts in the effort to follow the teachings of this book will feel the difference. The Dalai Lama narrates an incident from his life of when he was on his way to the hospital because of a severe ache in his stomach. On his way to the hospital, through the writhing pain, he saw an old man on the side of the road, who seemed to be suffering too. His Holiness says that all through the rest of the way to the hospital he kept thinking about the suffering of that man, which made him forget his pain. The moral here was that every time we feel that life has become too hard, we should always derive strength from the knowledge that somewhere in the world someone else was in an even worse state. if they are fighting through their pain, so can we.
In early April, I was admitted to a hospital for a week. I had contracted Hepatitis A and had also developed a Jaundice. As someone who had never been admitted to a hospital before, it was the worst week of my life. What got me through was this lesson that I had learnt from The Book of Joy. I thought of all the people who at that moment were suffering in that same hospital as me, with worse conditions and in even more discomfort. That knowledge made me stronger.
You might not always be able to apply what you learn from this book in your life. But every once a while you will find yourself in a situation where you will. And that achievement will add to your joy. These small additions over time will help you achieve the eternal joy that this book talks about. I hope that you all read this book and find the strength to help you live a joyful life.