Joy of Living

What is the Joy of Living?

The Joy of Living is a path of meditation practice that can be followed by anyone, regardless of religious or cultural orientation. Meditation enables us to discover a lasting contentment that is not subject to the fluctuating conditions of the external world, and to nurture the qualities of wisdom and compassion that naturally manifest from awareness itself.

Though rooted in the ancient Buddhist teachings of Tibet, the practices taught in the Joy of Living are not religious in nature. They deal with basic functions of the mind, such as mindful awareness and the movements toward happiness and away from suffering. In working with these qualities of mind, we gradually transform our relationship to present–moment experience, learning to approach every thought, feeling, and sensory experience with unconditional warmth and acceptance.

The Joy of Living program contains three levels:

  • Calming the Mind
  • Opening the Heart
  • Awakening Wisdom


Level 1: Calming the Mind

In the first level of the Joy of Living, Mingyur Rinpoche teaches how awareness meditation can be used to create a peaceful mind and joyful heart. Awareness meditation allows us to use any situation or experience, even difficult emotions and physical pain, as a gateway to inner peace.

In this level, you will learn:

  • How to rest in open awareness, a state of spacious and alert presence
  • How to use visual objects, sounds, tastes, and other sense objects as supports for awareness in meditation
  • How to transform your relationship to physical pain, difficult emotions, and destructive thought patterns using the practice of awareness meditation
  • How to deal with distractions and obstacles in meditation, such as excessive thought activity, sleepiness, and discouragement
  • How to start a daily meditation practice, including the correct meditation posture and the ideal length of a meditation session


Level 2: Opening the Heart

In the second level of the Joy of Living, Mingyur Rinpoche teaches how meditating on love, compassion, joy and equanimity can open our hearts to the world around us and decrease the self-fixation that lies at the root of suffering.

In this level, you will learn:

  • How our tendency to fixate on our own wellbeing creates anxiety and suffering
  • How positive mental states like love and compassion erode the causes of dissatisfaction
  • How these positive mental states can be cultivated through meditation
  • How ordinary experiences, and even “negative” factors like difficult emotions and physical pain, can be transformed into sources of empathy and compassion using the practice of meditation


Level 3: Awakening Wisdom

In the third level of the Joy of Living, Mingyur Rinpoche offers guidance on the practice of insight meditation, a profound form of meditation that uproots the causes of anxiety and suffering.

In this level, you will learn:

  • How to use insight meditation to break through the distorted ideas that create confusion and suffering
  • How to see beyond superficial thoughts and emotions to the basic goodness that lies within
  • How our rigid beliefs about ourselves and the world around us keep us locked in a cycle of dissatisfaction and anxiety
  • How to see things as they actually are, rather than the mistaken version of reality that we project onto the world