Each week we'll explore a different subject from James Baraz's book, Awakening Joy. As we look into each quality of life, we'll discuss and learn practices to help build new habits and open neural pathways for allowing joy to flourish in our life.
Awakening Joy is more than just another course 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 Buddhist meditation.
In these times of unprecedented uncertainty Awakening Joy shows we can get through hard times and use our experience to keep our heart open while moving from discouragement to well-being, regardless of the external circumstances. Genuine well-being is not expensive. True happiness is not about acquiring anything, but rather about opening to the natural joy and aliveness right inside you.
3 Principles Work Together at the Heart of the Program
Understand what healthy activities support wholesome mind-states in you.
Intentionally cultivate wholesome states and be fully present for them.
Research confirms that brain structure changes with what we focus on. Deepening the groove towards happiness (or depression)
"Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of their mind" - The Buddha
In this practical down-to-earth course, you will learn how to...
find well-being, even during difficult times, and avoid the pitfalls that prevent you from achieving the contentment you seek
cultivate effective practices for sustaining joyfulness, such as reclaiming your natural sense of wonder and finding joy in the midst of everyday experiences.
make happiness a habit by inclining your mind toward states that lead to well-being
Each week of the Awakening Joy course consists of one of the steps in James Baraz's ten-step program (see schedule below) and includes engaging exercises and practical advice to make happiness your natural default setting. For everyone from the cynic who is despondent over life's many sorrows, to the harried commuter raging at freeway traffic, this course offers up a simple yet powerful message of hope grounded in the realisation that joy already exists inside every one of us. Like a precious child, it only needs to be recognized, embraced, and nurtured in order to grow to its full potential
In Buddhism, Joy is both a Factor of Enlightenment and one of the four Divine Abodes.... The others are Patient kindness, Compassion and Equanimity. Today, as we are bombarded with messages that heighten our fear and sadness about the world, more than ever it is vital to understand the importance of joy as a central aspect of life. We need to remember how to stay connected to that place inside that makes life worth living. True happiness is not about acquiring anything but rather opening to the natural joy and aliveness right inside you. The way you cultivate and build your capacity for well-being and joy can become our gift to a troubled world.
Who is suited to do this course?
Anyone who would like to develop skills in bringing more well-being into your life. The essence of this course comes from Buddhist practices, modern psychotherapy and neuroscience but you don't have to be Buddhist at all the join the course or to benefit. We won't be asking you and we don't expect it as the course is non-denominational. Buddha wasn't a Buddhist!
All you need is an open mind and attitude and willingness to practice.
Beginners are totally welcome.
What you'll receive
10 live sessions each Tuesday from 18th August until 20th October.
Personal log-in details to access to the Awakening Joy Course website and materials
Recordings and guided meditations for each theme
A short guided gentle chair yoga/mindful movement practice each live session
Practice letters for each theme
All materials will be available for you to access until the end of November 2020.
Work at your own pace or go through the course with the group starting in August 2020.
Schedule for 2020
7pm - 9pm weekly
Joy in difficult times
The Joy of Letting go
Connection with Others
The Joy of Being
What Makes Awakening Joy Unique?
Awakening Joy offers more than just useful information on happiness. This course is based on time-tested principles drawn from Buddhist philosophy and wisdom and neuroscience and presents simple and helpful practices that open the heart as well as enlivening our well-being.
Awakening Joy is Not Just a Feel-Good Program—It’s a Feel-Everything Program
The goal isn’t to just put a smile on your face, think positively and look on the bright side of life. True well-being needs skillful opening to all of experience including life’s difficulties.
Time-tested Awareness Practices Build Healthier Habits and Beliefs
Awakening Joy consciously cultivates different qualities that directly lead to opening the heart and mind.
Sense of Community
You are part of a group of participants and will be offered space for sharing and connecting.
Anton has been teaching meditation for over 20 years and practicing psychotherapy for 10 years and is skilled at developing meditations which enhance the 10 course themes. Loretta has been teaching Yoga and practicing insight meditation for 10 years.
This course leads to a Transformed Understanding and Compassion for the Human Nature
The larger vision of Awakening Joy is that cultivating personal joy benefits everyone in our lives and produces a rippling effect of bringing more consciousness and well-being to the planet. Joy and happiness is infectious.... we catch it from others.
Anton will be leading most of the meditations, teachings and Q&A for sessions.
Loretta will be guiding a 15 minute yoga/mindful movement session each week to help embody the practices.
Q: How long are the meditation sessions?
A: They go for 5-10 minutes
Q: I'm new to meditation. Will this be suitable for me?
A: Totally. This course is a great way to be introduced to mindfulness practices.
These are the simple cancellation guidelines we follow.
1. Every booking has a non-refundable deposit of $50 to cover admin.
2. Refunds (minus non-refundable deposit) will only be paid if requested on or before August 11th, 2020. There will be no refunds paid after this date.
3. We will give full refunds for events that are cancelled.
4. If you can't make it, you are welcome to offer your paid place to a friend. Just let us know.
5. Registrations/bookings are not transferable to a future event.
6. All refunds are processed via the card that you paid with.
In the event of us being unable to run the course, all booking fees will be refunded.
Do you have other questions? Please read the FAQ below first.
The word "joy" may be a stretch for some. Perhaps you can’t imagine yourself skipping through a meadow with childlike exuberance. Don’t worry. Truly happy people are not happy all the time. They feel sad and angry and have the whole range of human emotions. We’re not talking about having a syrupy facade or being in denial. What we’re calling joy is a general feeling of aliveness and well-being that is characterized by engagement with life, meeting its ups and downs with authenticity and perspective. It can look very different from person to person, from a quiet sense of contentment to bubbly enthusiasm. That will be one of your discoveries—identifying how joy expresses itself uniquely through you.
When we’re feeling anxious or fearful about how things are going, practicing the 10 steps together will help create a container to hold all the challenging emotions and circumstances we face. Whether you’re enjoying life to the fullest or going through a difficult period, the practices will help you be more connected to yourself, allowing you to go through life’s ups and downs with greater appreciation, resilience, and aliveness.
Although the idea of cultivating more joy is meant to be an uplifting experience, it takes genuine intention to develop new habits that begin to naturally incline the mind that way. The more you put into the course, the more you will get out of it. However, you can do it to whatever extent you are able. We have enough responsibilities to make us feel guilty as it is. Joy does not follow from guilt. You will be encouraged to do whatever practices we are focusing on in a way that works for you.
People's time commitment varies tremendously in this class. There’s no guilt or pressure; it should be done as a nourishing experience. There are some people who attend or watch a class recording and do little else. Others may read a chapter, attend a class, read the letters and engage in the practices, which could mean taking some time each day for meditation/relaxation, singing, exercising, etc. Fully utilizing the program in this way supports participants in getting the most out of class because they are learning and practicing new ways to live. Even for busy folks who only dip into the material, the methods can still be quite powerful and effective.
The course brings the book to life. People are given the opportunity to work through the book, relating it to their own life situations and to real time world situations with the author himself. The course gives tremendous support by creating a community (joy groups, practice partners, online material), so that the participant can experience Awakening Joy fully. Also, since the course is 5 months long, it slows down the experiential practice of Awakening Joy, allowing a deepening of understanding and a development of ongoing happiness practices.