Although His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu don't cover vocology in The Book of Joy, it has significant interest to vocolgy enthusiasts. The book, dedicated to exploring “the goal of avoiding suffering and discovering happiness”, frequently references scientific research on the topic. Alongside the sage wisdom of the combined 165 years of spiritual leadership that these two men bring to the conversation, collaborating author Douglas Abrams helps to guide the reader’s experience by including contemporary neuroscience’s understanding of emotion, spirituality, and human interaction. The book reads like advice from the best friend that we all wish we had, and each page is notable and quote worthy.
To hear the Archbishop and Dali Lama respond to one another with calm insight and jocular humor is enough to keep you smiling. They bring the reader into dialogue with them as well, helping to create opportunities for reflection and spiritual/emotional deepening. Their appreciation of science shows through the scientific insights presented alongside their own words. The research regularly affirms their understanding which has been gained through a lifetime of spiritual leadership. They demonstrate their appreciation for science as well through the book’s organization that guides the reader through a measured series of thoughts and steps for action. In many ways, The Book of Joy provides a template for the singer who respects scientific discovery while still choosing to remain focused on their artistic priorities, and for the vocology community as a whole to study how execution, emotion, spirituality, and science live easily within the same narrative.
[Elissa] Epel and her colleauge, Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, have found that constant stress actually wears down our telomeres, the caps of our DNA that protect our cells from illness and aging. . .They encourage us to develop stress resilience. This involves turning what is called “threat stress,” or the perception that a stressful event is a threat that will harm us, into what is called “challenge stress,” or the perception that a stressful event is a challenge that will help us grow. . .
“I would give teaching when I was young,” the Dalai Lama explained, describing one of the experiences that would cause him to experience stress and anxiety. “I would be very nervous because I did not see myself as the same as the people in the audience. Then after 1959, when I left Tibet, I started thinking, These people are just like me, same human being. If we think we are something special or not special enough, then fear, nervousness, stress, and anxiety arise. We are the same.” (from pages 98-99)