Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama seem to agree that joy springs through suffering, and so, I suppose, it’s appropriate that I’m reading “The Book of Joy” at the moment, while in the throes of a wretched cold.
There is probably no better time, for I — the “I” that I thought of as being so spry — have been flattened, and quickly too, beginning on Christmas Day. A good time, then, to read about the importance of reaching out to the world — as O’en, our 6-month-old white golden retriever, has done since day one — rather than simply reach out for another cough drop.
Joy, the two sages say, goes deeper than happiness, inasmuch as it has its roots in the commonality of mankind.
We are the same person, says the Dalai Lama. We are who we are through others — that’s ubuntu, says the archbishop. Joy, then, is about more than simply feeling good about oneself and being content with one’s good fortune.
I had always thought of sportswriting as “the joy department,” as in celebrating the moment, being in synchrony with the creation, that sort of thing, but that may have been at the expense of reality, in which joy and suffering are intertwined.
I’m still not going into the frigid surf on New Year’s Day, though! That’s for those further along the path than me. I will be there at Main Beach to celebrate, yes — and I did mail in a donation to the East Hampton Food Pantry today — but not as a co-sacrificer.
Such rites, I suppose, have their roots in mankind’s earliest times, though there was a lot more blood then. Yet the point remains, as the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu say, that we’re all in this together — even as we reach for another cough drop.