June 28, 2021

Four ways to be Joyful in the face of Suffering, from the Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu.

I saw the world premiere of a movie featuring the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu (two of the most famous, brave, adorable, joyful best friends you’ll ever find) last night. Here’s the story:

Yesterday, at brunch, Michelle and I ran into old friends Louie, and Viki Psihoyos (and fam). Louie, an Oscar-winning director of The Cove, Racing Extinction, Gamechangers (#1 on Netflix after its debut, I interviewed him about veganism and…penises), was in town for our beloved Boulder International Film Festival, and offered me a ticket to see his latest mind-changing documentary.

So Michelle and I biked up to historic Chautauqua, nestled just below the imposing face of the Flatirons, the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. We entered this historic old auditorium, built without toxic drywall, open to the elements like a barn is, and after some schmoozing (missed that, this year) with dear Boulder community friends, found some seats.

The next 90 minutes was a gift—a gift I hope you’ll find, too.

His latest film, Mission: Joy, is a documentary about a meeting of two best friends. It’s about Ubuntu (more on that, below). It’s about smart selfishness, as opposed to foolish selfishness. But most of all it’s about the troublemaking, the joy, and the vulnerable, grounded, deeply powerful sadness that comes with meditation and prayer, as witnessed directly, in this film, in the persons of the Dalai Lama (exiled leader of Tibet, which has suffered rape, looting, repression at the hands of Community Chinese invaders), and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (a leader against Apartheid, the brutal system of racist repression in South Africa that finally ended a few decades back).

The question this film asks is, in the face of suffering, how is it that both of you are filled with so much joy? And what is our path to that joy?

Watch the film. Search Mission: Joy and find out when it’ll show near you. Hopefully it’ll appear on Netflix or HBOmax or something coming up.

But I’ll leave you with this. One of the many joyful, touching moments was when the film went into Ubuntu: the notion that I am whatever I am because many people helped me. I am because we are. Humanity is a web of kindness, or it can be. Here’s an entirely unrelated video about precisely that, that happened to be on the front page of Reddit, this morning:

Bonus: on Mission: Joy’s site, you can take action, send a message to the Dalai Lama or Desmond Tutu, and learn about four ways to be joyful.

Mission: Joy Trailer: [will be added when I find it]


Academy Award®-winning director Louie Psihoyos’ latest film is a documentary with unprecedented access to the unlikely friendship of two international icons who transcend religion: His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu. Consisting largely of never-before-seen footage shot over 5 days at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala, Mission:Joy invites viewers to join these luminaries behind the scenes as they recount stories from their lives, each having lived through periods of incredible difficulty and strife. With genuine affection, mutual respect and a healthy dose of teasing, these unlikely friends impart lessons gleaned from lived experience, ancient traditions, and the latest cutting-edge science about how to live with joy in the face of all of life’s challenges—from the extraordinary to the mundane. This beautiful film is an antidote for our times.

Inspired by the New York Times bestseller The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.


But for now…penises.


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