The Nature of Joy

As I explore the meaning and sensations of happiness working in my life, I’m beginning to really “get” how the essence of joy is not an effect of experience or a passing mood, but rather a deeper current that flows continually beneath the ebb and flow of various other emotions.

In the past, what I assumed was the nature of joy (transient and often unpredictable, like other feelings) was in fact the state of my connection to it, i.e. full of static and interference from random internal/external signals. The connection was weak and inconsistent since my mind wasn’t programmed to tap into it on a regular basis.

By thinking more positively and making a habit of finding the good, I’m recognizing that joy itself runs a whole spectrum, from the simplest peace to the highest ecstasy.

Sometimes my joy is really obvious; it’s noticeably energizing and uplifting. Other times my joy is quiet and resting, and it’s so still I look around feeling disappointed, thinking, is it gone?

When I do not feel particularly excited or expansive, or don’t feel a strong physical presence of happiness, then I get tempted to think well shoot, I must be unhappy. Through greater body awareness and breath, however, and regularly noticing all the things to appreciate that delight or comfort me, I’m learning how to maintain my connection to joy, to move from it and with it–and to not feel lost or cut off from it when emotions that seem to be outside the spectrum of “happy” vie for my attention. Joy is always there, it’s just a matter of looking a little closer and diving a little deeper.

Real joy is not a destination to be reached someday, nor is it a place to merely visit now and then. Rather, it is a way for us to travel through life, navigating more effectively the rough spots in the proverbial road.

Try test driving a joyful, positive outlook for a while and it will likely become your favorite mode of transportation… It is definitely mine. 🙂

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