Each theme inclines the mind towards a specific wholesome state, bringing awareness to the gladness that accompanies it. Participants may review the materials at their own pace, but at least 2 weeks of experiential practice is recommended for each theme.
4-Joy in Difficult Times
6-The Joy of Letting Go
8-Connection with Others
10-The Joy of Being
How is the Course Delivered?
All participants receive:
Video and audio recordings of the live classes presented in Berkeley California
Guided meditations on each of the 10 themes of the course.
Detailed Practice Letters from James Baraz, which expand and bring to life the themes and experiential exercises.
Joy Reminder Cards for each theme to help you stay on track with the recommended practices.
The Course is Non-Denominational and Universal
The material includes some Buddhist philosophy, drawn from the course leader’s 30 years as a meditation teacher.
3 Principles Work Together at the Heart of the Program
Understand what healthy activities support wholesome 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 depression or happiness.
("Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of their mind" - The Buddha)
Awakening Joy is not a feel-good program; it’s a feel-everything program. It’s a fun and gentle way to develop a solid mindfulness practice for fully living one’s daily life.
Science of Happiness
Learn the science behind real happiness. Nourish yourself by connecting to what brain scientists know as true well-being.
Joy is Not Just for the Lucky Few
Joy is a choice anyone can make. Build healthier habits and beliefs through powerful awareness practices.
What Makes Awakening Joy Unique?
Awakening Joy Offers More Than Just Useful Information on Happiness
Based on time-tested principles drawn from Buddhist philosophy and wisdom, the course presents actual practices that open the heart as well as access aliveness and well-being.
The goal Isn’t to Just Put a Smile on Your Face
The goal is not to just make you think positively and look on the bright side of life. True well-being needs skillful opening to all of experience, including life’s difficulties. Awakening Joy is not just a feel-good program—It’s a feel-everything program..
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 through Support Groups and Practice Partners
You are part of a large support group of participants from around the world. Practice partners and small group support are also available, guided by a robust manual.
The teacher is an expert at developing meditations which enhance the 10 course themes shown above.
Leads to Transformed Understanding and Compassion for the Human Condition
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.
James Baraz has taught mindfulness meditation since 1978 and is co-founder of the world-renowned Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. He is co-author of two books Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to a Happier Life and Awakening Joy for Kids. James has taught the Awakening Joy course to over 20,000 people from 30 countries since 2003, as well as retreats and workshops in the US and internationally.
Praise for Awakening Joy
“A very popular course. Melinda and I went to one of his seminars...Awakening Joy is very good!”
—Bill Gates, Microsoft Co-founder and Co-Chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
“James Baraz has turned Awakening Joy into a class and found that participants maintained a positive attitude even after it ended. He has been thrilled to receive messages from strangers in Europe, Africa and New Zealand. ‘It works!’ they write.”
“Awakening Joy can lead each of us to live with dignity, compassion and gracious freedom. Savor and practice the exercises...use them to open your heart and transform your life. Your days on Earth will be full of blessings.”
—Jack Kornfield, Author of A Path with Heart
What if I’m not a joyful person?
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.
How will doing the course help with anxiety or fear when they arise?
When we’re feeling anxious or fearful about how things are going, practicing the 10 steps/themes 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.
Can you tell me more about the course? How does it work?
Video and audio recordings of the live classes in Berkeley, California have been uploaded to the Academy. There is also a practice letter from the teacher for each of the 10 themes, which augment the recordings considerably. The letters have suggestions for at-home study and practices for each theme.
There is an online forum where people can find a practice partner for the course, if needed.
What if I have limited extra time to do the coursework?
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.
What is the time commitment/requirement for this course?
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 watch a class recording and do little else. Others may read a chapter, watch the 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.
Why take the course if there's a book?
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. 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.
James does not want finances to get in the way of anyone taking the course. If you find the above rates are beyond your means, email email@example.com with an amount that will work for you. You will be able to stay current with any friends taking the course with you.