Yet how much time do we spend wishing our lives were different and envying what others have?
How much time do we spend feeling sad and anxious?
When we honestly examine our moment by moment thoughts and feelings, we probably will notice how much angst there is within us.
The good news is that this not need be so. We can cultivate joy.
I’m not speaking of the artificial and impermanent happiness that comes from satisfying an ego want—such as getting what we want and avoiding what we don’t want. For this is all impermanent; not lasting.
The good news is that there is a joy that doesn’t go away!
There is lasting joy that arises from seeing and trusting a universal flow of goodness that underlies all that is.
But how do we arrive in this place? We plant the seeds of intention to seek the goodness that underlies all that we can see. We nourish these seeds of joy. We cultivate them through commitment.
We do this every day through our spiritual practice. This gradually awakens us to a joy that doesn’t look for evidence in the outer, but relies on something deeper and more permanent within us. This joy is the very substance that both grounds us—and is groundless.
We cultivate joy by inquiring deeply into our motive for our every action. What is this action moving me toward? Is it kind? Is it wise? Is it loving?
When we honestly check out our motives and find them leading to retaliation or retribution we can choose to walk a different path.
Our joy is in our ability to choose. All it takes is our intention to pay attention to our motives for everything we think and do.
We cultivate joy by taking small steps daily by practicing the art of equanimity and compassion. We learn to truly accept life as it is, trusting that everything is in the process of changing, and by paying attention to what we need to do next.
It might be cleaning out closets, and working with an attitude of gratitude no matter what we are doing.
Joy arises out of giving thanks that we live and move and have our being in the flow of universal energy that knows how to become.
Every moment there are people who are happy over something that is occurring in their lives. We can open our heart to their joy.
We can only do this if we realize that we are all one. We are connected to each other, to all that is, in some fundamental way that defies the thinking mind to comprehend. But it is here! Otherwise how could we feel joy when the underdog wins?
At any moment in our world someone is feeling joy. Someone is happy. We can join with them in this happiness! We do this by realizing they are part of us at a very deep non-physical way.
In this way we are choosing a path of joy. We are cultivating it.
This path does not ignore losses or sadness. Yet we can remember that the dark periods in life are the times we truly have the opportunity to learn something we didn’t know—and needed to know, otherwise the universe would not have presented this to us.
Darkness allows us to sit with what is until we can see. And we will.
We begin seeing in the dark through the light of our consciousness that we have brought into this troubling place. By patiently sitting here and simply breathing, feeling however we are feeling, withholding action until we can see clearly through the eyes of loving understanding and compassion, we find relief. We find refuge. And we begin to see. It is dark no longer. We can see. There is great joy in clearly seeing.
Darkness turns into light, and light into darkness. This is a natural pattern that continues to evolve. Life spirals upward bringing new conditions and opportunities for seeing in a new way. There does come a time when we find joy in both the dark and the light. They both bring gifts.
Evolutions uses everything; all the smiles, all the tears, all the laughter. Nothing is wasted.
I experience this as the joy of life that doesn’t require something “good” to happen—something that I want. Instead there is joy in each moment as we realize everything is impermanent, changing and evolving into something greater.
The yin and the yang are always in motion—the dark becoming light and the light becoming dark. In this movement there is no “right” and no “wrong.” There is just evolving energy that gradually lifts all of us.
All spiritual paths lead to God. God is joy. God is life. God is love. God is wisdom.
When we commit ourselves to this path, walking it moment by moment through life, we will abide in joy. Joy becomes our home.
And we find we have come home.