Extraordinary Vision for Finding Inner Peace and Joy

We live in a society that removes pain with safe zones and bailouts. But what if the real secret to joy is suffering?

Douglas Abrams, co-author of The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, joined The Glenn Beck Program to talk about how embracing adversity creates opportunity, growth and joy. This important lesson was reinforced by his two co-authors: Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.

"These two men, in addition to being global icons and moral leaders for the world, are actually really dear friends and love each other and tease each other. And it's kind of extraordinary to see these two men who are so revered, kind of laughing with each other and teasing each other," Abrams said.

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Nobel Peace Prize Laureates the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships --- or, as they would say, because of them --- they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World offers a rare opportunity to experience an astonishing and unprecendented look at how to find joy in life's inevitable suffering.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: I want to introduce you to somebody, Douglas Abrams. He is an author and editor. He works with people who are -- are trying to create a wiser and better world. And he has -- was allowed to spend time with two men who were both in their 80s and have a very interesting perspective. If I said to you losing what was most valuable to me, losing my country was the best thing that ever happened to me, you would say, "Excuse me? How could you find joy in that?" You know the best thing that could ever happen to you: Going to prison.

I'm sorry. What?

Two people with extraordinary vision when it comes to finding inner peace and joy. I had the opportunity to meet one of them. And it was -- it was a -- a surreal experience. One of the men that he was allowed to spend time with was the Dalai Lama. And the other is archbishop Desmond Tutu. And the book is The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.

Doug Abrams. Welcome to the program, Doug, how are you?

DOUG: Great to be here, Glenn. Thanks so much.

GLENN: So, Doug, let's start with losing my country as perhaps the thing that set me free.

DOUG: Yeah. It was a pretty extraordinary moment. We had a week together in Dharamsala, India, with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

GLENN: Who, by the way, if anybody doesn't know, that's like way -- it's like, what is it? A 15-hour drive to the closest airport. It's like way out of the way, is it not?

DOUG: It's in the foothills of the Himalayas, in northern India. Many of your listeners know the Dalai Lama had to flee Tibet because the Chinese invaded. And this is his home in exile where we had the privilege of spending this week.

And these two men, in addition to being global icons and moral leaders for the world, are actually really dear friends and love each other and tease each other. And it's kind of extraordinary to see these two men who are so revered, kind of laughing with each other and teasing each other.

And so at one point, you know, Archbishop Tutu -- you know, we were talking about what allows us to have joy in our lives, even in the face of adversity, in the face of a world filled with suffering.

And Archbishop Tutu turned to the Dalai Lama, and he said, "Why are you not morose?" You know, you've been run out of your country. And the Dalai Lama didn't know what the word "morose" was, so he turns to his translator.

And Archbishop Tutu says sad. Why are you not sad? You have -- everything that you love has been taken away from you.

And the Dalai Lama turned to him, and he said, "You know, I tried to step back and take a wider perspective and see that, yes, all of this suffering has happened, but if I had stayed in Tibet, I would have never been able to have the life that I had. I would have never had been able to meet all the people that I've met. I never would have met you."

And he was able to shift his perspective and see -- and even in the face of great suffering that he and his people have experienced, he has had a much richer life than he would have had in what he called his gilded cage, being the holy Dalai Lama, as he said, in Tibet.

And then they started cackling and giggling about how, you know, he probably wouldn't have won the Nobel Peace Prize. And here are these two guys, who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, are joking about these supposedly amazing awards that they've gotten, as if they were, you know, kind of peripheral and funny.

But this was -- the whole week together was filled with these kind of counterintuitive insights about how deeply connected joy and sorrow are and how, in fact, it's through the adversity that we discover our joy and our fulfillment.

GLENN: So, Doug, I -- this is something that my father taught me.

I was whining about my life. I'm a recovering alcoholic. And this is 20-some years ago. And I was whining about my life.

DOUG: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And my dad, who is a baker, who was listening to me whine to him on the phone. And he said, "You know, son, I've got to pull some bread out of the oven. Call me tonight. Make a list of all these things. Because, boy, you have suffered so much. Why don't you call me back tonight."

I called him back within ten minutes. Because the first thing that was on my list was my mother's death. And then I don't remember what was on my list. I got to three or four, and I was like, "Now, wait a minute. Hang on just a second. Well, if that wouldn't have happened, then this wouldn't have happened."

And then I went back up to the list. And I got all the way to my mother when I was a teenager dying. And I thought, "Well, that wasn't -- I mean, yes, that was tragic. But that -- that caused all these other things that have put me in a position of X, Y, Z.

I called my father back, and he picked up the phone. And I said, "You don't have any bread in the oven, do you?" And he just laughed and said, "Wow, you're faster than I thought."

But we are now living in a society that is trying to take away -- is trying to say, "Life is painless. If you fail in business, don't worry, we'll bail you out. Let's have safe zones. Et cetera, et cetera. We do have to try to be better to each other. We do have to try to help one another. But there is something huge.

Don't take away my right to -- to fail or to learn from suffering.

DOUG: Well, this is a really good point. Because you even see it with playgrounds, we're taking away swings because kids could get hurt. And I think -- you know, one of the things that they remind us, is that it is actually the -- the adversity that we face, the suffering we go through. And, you know, I'm speaking as a parent of three kids.

GLENN: Yeah.

DOUG: We want to save our children from suffering.

GLENN: Yes, we do.

DOUG: We want to keep them safe. We want to protect them, but it's actually that suffering, that hardship that they go through that helps burnish their character and make them the people that they are.

You know, when we kind of wrap them in bubble wrap and protect them from life, thinking that we're doing the best thing, we're actually robbing them of their capacity, not only to grow and to learn, but I think what they would say is to appreciate life in such a way that allows it to be richer and more joyful.

GLENN: There is story after story, and it depends on how you tell the story.

For instance, Schindler's List. Powerful. Never cried more than in Schindler's List, until I saw Life Is Beautiful.

Same story. One concentrates on the horror, and the other concentrates on how these people lived in such a beautiful world inside of that horror because of the way they chose to live. Almost impossible to see yourself getting there. What is the secret of getting there?

DOUG: Well, you mentioned Schindler's List. And I also have the privilege of working with this extraordinary woman named Edith Eva Eger, who is 90 years old and is an Auschwitz survivor. And she's an incredible psychologist. And she was working with the military. She worked a lot with the military on PTSD. And she went in to work with these two soldiers back-to-back. And both of them had lost their legs in combat. And the first one was kind of -- was, you know, nodded up in the bed. You know, cursing God and country. And, you know, just -- you know, just furious about what had happened. And understandably so.

The next guy that she goes in to see is in his wheelchair. He says to her, you know, "I feel like I've been given a new lease on life. I'm able to look my children in the eye. I'm still here with them. I never noticed how beautiful the flowers in the garden are."

I mean, you know, it's this focus on perspective. Now, look, you know, this is not to tell people that, you know, suffering is easy or to be Pollyannish or to just say, "You know, we just have to look at the glass as half full."

GLENN: Or to even say, flog yourself because you'll be better. No, not good.

PAT: No, no, no. I don't think we're saying that at all.

GLENN: Right.

PAT: But we're saying that their -- so The Book of Joy, one of the things they talk about are these eight pillars of joy in The Book of Joy. That they fell -- you know, they say, "You know, you can't ran after happiness." Archbishop Tutu says, "That's the fastest way to miss the bus, if you're just kind of running after it and trying to pursue it. But if you cultivate these eight pillars of joy, one of which is perspective, you're much more likely to experience joy in your life."

GLENN: What are the eight pillars?

So there are four pillars of the mind and four pillars of the heart. The four pillars of the heart are perspective, humility, humor, which is crucial for them and for life -- being able to laugh at ourselves and life -- and acceptance. Those are the four pillars of the mind. The four pillars of the heart are forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity.

And, you know, in The Book of Joy, they -- it's kind of three different parts.

The first part of our dialogue was to understand the nature of joy because, you know, there really are only four fundamental human emotions. There's fear, anger, sadness, and joy, according to the scientists, which they wanted us to bring in.

So really, when we're talking about joy, we're talking about everything that we hang a satisfying and meaningful life on. And, in fact, how we deal with the other three profound human emotions of fear, anger, and sadness. And then we actually -- in part two, we look at the obstacles of joy together and looked at things like fear, sadness, anger, illness, fear of death. All the things that kind of rob us of our joy. And then we explore the eight pillars together.

It was incredible. You know, the dialogue was amazing. But what we try to do is actually bring readers on that journey. Because it was an incredible week together --

GLENN: I bet it was.

DOUG: Not just filled with so much laughter and tears and incredible stories that they were sharing, but we also got to -- the Dalai Lama taught us to meditate. Archbishop Tutu gave the Dalai Lama communion. The Dalai Lama danced for the first time in his life because, you know, Archbishop Tutu in his irrepressible African boogie got him up to dance. It was just -- it was pretty magical.

GLENN: I will tell you I spent -- I was lucky enough to spend about eight hours with Billy Graham about five years ago. And everything that you're talking about, I saw from him. And it's -- there's something to a man who has tried to pursue a spiritual, decent, God-fearing life his whole life. And then is in his 80s. They -- they just have a different look to them. You just look them in the eye, and they -- they are full of joy. They don't have fear because they -- they just know. They just know what they know they know. And the acceptance and love of people who are vastly different than them is -- is humbling. Very humbling.

DOUG: It's really -- it's so true. When I was at HarperCollins, we worked with Billy Graham. And I just -- I do think you see it in all of these great spiritual teachers. But I think one of the things that is so extraordinary is that they shared their humanity with us, in a way that was not saying, "Okay. We're these vaunted, you know, special spiritual guys." They were -- we are these human beings, who are on the path with you.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.

DOUG: And as Archbishop Tutu said, "We are all masterpieces in the making. You know, we are all on this path. And sometimes we fall, and sometimes we, you know, have bad days. And sometimes we lose our tempers at our wife, as I did last night." You know, we all go there. But we're all on this -- you know, we're all on this path of trying to be the best people that we can be and to grow and learn in our lives.

And the -- what we wanted to try to do, as we said, you know, for these two men who are in their '80s, to try to bottle what is it about these two people who are two of the most joyous people on the planet, who have experienced such incredible adversity and suffering in their lives and still are able to hold on to that quality of joy.

GLENN: Doug Abrams, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And we'll talk to you again. And in this season of joy, I wish you lots of joy.

DOUG: You too, Glenn. Thank you so much.

GLENN: Thank you. You bet. The name of the book is The Book of Joy. Lasting happiness in a changing world. Everything that he just said about the eight pillars is -- is exactly what I saw in Billy Graham. Exactly what I saw in Billy Graham. And it was humility and his humanness as well. His -- his taking me by. The hand and saying -- with tears in his eyes, "I failed so many times in my life. I failed, but I tried my hardest."

Was -- oh, my gosh. You are -- you're just like me. And that is -- there's something special about seeing that from somebody the size of these giants. Know somebody who is looking for joy? The Book of Joy. The Book of Joy.

Featured Image: Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama speaks with the Archbishop Desmond Tutu (L) visit the Concert Noble Building on June 1, 2006 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images)

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.