Joy often rounds a corner with unexpected surprise – this is when it can really uplift us. It shows up in laughter, a new realization, the shimmering colours of a dragonfly, generous giving, heart-centered sharing, the rain of spinning maple tree seeds, or the cold juiciness of watermelon on a hot day! Joy can be found where you look, in what you hear, what you feel, touch, taste, give, and know. It’s up to us to allow it and know that it can be a part of our experience even when other aspects of our lives seem difficult, painful or dull. It’s permissible. No matter how momentary, joy is the Light that can deflate the greatest angst or amplify the sense of freedom already flowing forward. It requires no preparation or conditions.
Joy is elusive to some because it comes with a price tag – or so the ego mind deems, based upon painful experiences, based perhaps in loss, trauma or miasma. The thinking goes like this: “If I find joy, it will only come to an end. It will surely disappear so I won’t allow it.” Maybe it sounds like, “Everything is wonderful now, something bad is coming.” But we cannot avoid pain by diminishing joy. Many, however, try and this is what leads to suppression of emotional expression, stagnant energy, and often regret.
Ego would rather have us believe that because feelings of joy may be fleeting, they have less value. Ego expects perpetual bliss. Glimpses of joy are simply not enough.
Sometimes we just take life a little too seriously. I know that I can, having come from generations of hardship, struggle and resignation to these. For my ancestors, and for many in the past, it seemed there just wasn’t space for joy. Some people feel they must stay joyless when life brings a serious situation like illness.
To override these unfortunate conditioned programs it’s helpful to remind ourselves that our reality is a fabrication of our perceptions. Through our personal energies, we each decide what keeps amalgamating into the collective unconscious. Darkness dampens moments in one part of the world while celebration reverberates in another. They co-exist within the planet and within each of us. Yet we can honour the learning in both types of experiences. And we can choose that to which we contribute, and on what we place value.
When lingering circumstances around us place our attention on heavier experiences of ourselves in order to awaken to further consciousness expansion, it’s wise to consciously bring joy in. Joy can be less prominent when we feel the squeeze in the polarization of a limiting pattern just before it radically shifts us into freedom, when there’s pressure to create big change in life, or during sudden illness or loss. During those phases, our personal challenge is to hold inner balance with the truth of who we are, and remember that our frequencies matter. However, if we were to chase joy, we might find it just out of reach.
“Sometimes, the unendurable is the beginning of the curve of joy.”
Joy calls us to turn toward vulnerability just as our emotional pain does. When we find brightness, contentment, or exhilaration, we are invited to lean into it, to stay in the present with an open heart, without seeking justification to allow it, measuring its magnitude, or questioning whether we’re worth receiving it. Joy invites us to bask in the appreciation of what’s before us, to let it land in fullness, without rushing into the future to cancel it with false foreboding fear. Joy isn’t found in the past or the future, it can only be what we feel ‘now’. Sometimes we need reminding that we can handle whatever arises for us – not just our vulnerability with the tests and trials of life, but also in the deepest, most sacred, unifying experience of ourselves as God.
“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.”
Ralph H. Blum
For me, joy often comes simply, from the grateful enchantment with the ordinary, not the seeking of the extraordinary. It rests in the fabric of our organic nature, in our undefended heart. When the inorganic, the lies, the confusion, the illusions and the false realities fall away, joy can be found – abiding joy. The joy emerges effortlessly. Like the sun, it’s always present, even though sometimes we cannot see it beyond the clouds. A swift breeze it sometimes all it takes to lift the shadows of our perceptions.
This is not to say that joy should override other more dense emotions. All emotions are valid: grief, anger, guilt, sadness, shame, hurt, etc. When they arise they can be acknowledged too. They have a rightful place and they can flow just like joy, unfolding into the next moment, the next release, the next birth, the next peace.
Joy can be like a refreshing splash of God cleansing the heart, or a contagious ripple of aliveness that clears darkness away to yield crystal clarity. It can be loud or whisper, but without doubt, joy offers the benevolent blessing of graceful balancing in the human journey. To shut out joy is to refuse a gift of our Spirit, often when we need it most. Joy may not always readily appear on our doorsteps, but it waits to be beckoned and invited across the threshold of our softest hearts.