CT meditates: a comedy (6) Book of Joy

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Reading this book, on the recommendation of my children. If parents can take credit in any way for their children’s accomplishments and thoughtfulness, I will ride their coattails all the way.

This book is the outcome of a weeklong meeting between two 80+ year old spiritual leaders summing up the common threads of their philosophies and hard-won learnings.

It is a delightful read, full of humor, grace, thoughtfulness, kindness and love. And, the Archbishop also teaches the Dalai Lama to dance(!)

Dr. Tutu tells a story of defusing a crisis during the Apartheid years in South Africa. He was attending a funeral of a black leader shot by white police officers; both were in attendance and the atmosphere was tense. He tells the story:

“…’at the beginning of creation, God molded us out of clay and then put us into a kiln, like you do with bricks. God put one lot in and then got busy with other things and forgot about those he had put into the kiln. And after awhile he remembered and rushed to the kiln, where the whole lot was burned to cinders. They say this is how we black people came about.’ Everyone laughed a little. And then I said: ‘God put in a second lot, and this time he was overanxious and opened the oven too quickly, and this second lot that came out was underdone. And that’s how white people came about.'” [pp 217-218 from the Book of Joy]

This seemed to defuse a particularly tense situation.

Of course, my parents taught me an alternate Asian version ending of that story, that “God’s third batch came out perfectly; that’s how Asian people came about.”

Nevertheless, this book is filled with philosophical gems, including ideas of meditation, presence, gratitude, compassion.

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take? Secular or not, world leader or not, presence, gratitude, compassion are never out of style.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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