Chade-Meng Tan is the bestselling author of Search Inside Yourself in which he described the mindfulness-based emotional intelligence course he created at Google. He joined that company as an engineer when it was a startup and was given the official title of "Jolly Good Fellow (Which Nobody Can Deny)." He retired in 2015.
Tan notes that happiness and joy come to fruition in our lives through practice. Both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, whose happiness has been measured and reported on since 2007, have cultivated this human quality which can be eased into apart from sense or ego pleasure.
"Joy is the wellspring of all good things," writes Tan and it is engendered by mind training which produces mental calm, mental clarity, and emotional resilience. Other benefits which come with joy are creativity, confidence, kindness, charisma, and luck.
Where does this precious resource begin? It starts from the first breath. Tan reminds us that one hour of sitting is nothing more than a lot of one breaths. Moving on, he presents a series of practices on settling the mind designed for easing into joy and resting the mind there; a personal favorite of ours is the puppy dog meditation.
Those who yearn to experience contentment can tune into what Tan calls joy on demand. Part of this is noting it in daily life and then attending to it. These experiences are enhanced by taking time to be grateful, being cognizant of the absence of pain, not expecting every day to be overflowing with joy, and pondering the impermanence of things and your own death.
Tan quotes the renowned Indian Buddhist master Kamalashila who observed:
"If you temper your heart with loving-kindness, and prepare it like a fertile soil, and then plant the seed of compassion, it will greatly flourish."
This uplifting thought serves as a prelude to Tan's "Joy of Heart Practices" including loving-kindness, rejoicing in altruistic deeds, and tapping into one's inner goodness. The author concludes with his interpretations of Dawn Eagle's point that "just because you're in pain doesn't mean you cannot be joyful."
Joy on Demand is one of the best spiritual books of 2016. Every idea about joy is reinforced by a practice we can all do. We are inspired to not just think about joy but to experience it in every moment of our daily lives. Thanks and bravo!