Awakening Joy

About the Course - Fundamentals

Awakening Joy - 10 Steps to a Happier Life

10 Themes, One Every Other Week

Each theme inclines the mind towards a specific wholesome state, bringing awareness to the gladness that accompanies it.

  1. Intention
  2. Mindfulness
  3. Gratitude
  4. Joy in Difficult Times
  5. Integrity

  6. The Joy of Letting Go

  7. Loving Ourselves

  8. Connection with Others

  9. Compassion

  10. The Joy of Being

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

  1. Understand what healthy activities support wholesome states in you.
  2. Intentionally cultivate wholesome states and be fully present for them.
  3. 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


  • In-Depth letters describing the themes and practices
  • Audio and Video recordings of each theme by James
  • Recorded Guided Meditations for each theme
  • All materials are available until the end of the year in which the course starts
  • Work at your own pace or go through the course with the group starting in late January.

Supportive Practices

1. Take Quiet Time Regularly

  • If you have a daily meditation practice that’s great. however meditation practice experience is not a prerequisite.
  • If you do not meditate, then take a five minute coffee or tea break to relax and stop the momentum of busy-ness

2. Reading

  • The book, Awakening Joy, is the course text, but the course will expand upon it considerably
  • An audio version of the book, read by James, is also available

    Addtional recommended reading:

    -- Buddha's Brain by Rick Hanson, which gives a neuroscience explanation as to why Awakening Joy practices are so effective
    -- How We Choose to Be Happy by Rick Foster and Greg Hicks, a great adjunct to the course, although not absolutely necessary

3. Other Supportive Practices

  • regular body exercise or movement (yoga, exercise, walking)
  • regular creative expression (singing, drawing, writing, dancing, etc.)
  • keeping a journal

These are all suggestions. No guilt. No pressure to do everything or anything. Just do what you do in a way that works for you. The more you do the more you will get out of it. However, it’s completely up to you.

4. 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 with the author himself.

  • The course gives tremendous support by creating a community (joy groups, practice partners, online material), so that the participant can experience Awakening Joy fully.

  • 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.