These are joy, compassion, lovingkindness and equanimity.
An abode is where we live. It’s our home. This means we actually have a home in joy—as well as compassion, lovingkindness and equanimity.
Imagine living in those mind states!
Home is where we are always welcome. It is a place of comfort and warmth—a place of security.
This makes joy (if we trust the wisdom of the Buddha) a place where we can metaphorically hang our hat.
What would it take for us to remember to come home to joy—to actually live in joy—no matter what seems to be happening? That it wasn’t dependent on events.
But how can we find joy in what seems tragic and even unbearable? How can we take joy in rape, murder or torture? This sounds impossible.
But let’s look closer. Let’s investigate more thoroughly before we make a decision about this abode of joy.
Perhaps there is a way to find a place of peace and serenity right in the midst of any experience. As the movie A Wrinkle in Time points out, all it takes to experience love is to find the right frequency!
And love is full of joy, wouldn’t you agree?
Finding the right frequency! I think most of us understand that everything is in a state of vibration. At the deepest level of all matter nothing is stationary. It’s all moving, changing. And there are multiple frequencies. Many we know and more that we don’t.
What is the frequency of love? Of peace? Of joy? Probably not where we think it is.
“Our wound is where the light enters.” (Also from A Wrinkle in Time.)
“How can I feel joy by going where it hurts?” we might ask.
Pema Chodrin remarks that one of life’s great ironies is that what we want to avoid is exactly the place in which we find joy and peace.
But we usually don’t want to visit the wounds that hurt so deeply. The problem is that what we suppress actually runs our lives via the underground. And we all know how the underground works to sabotage whatever is happening above ground (our conscious mind).
So, the universe brings us difficult people, loss, pain, agony, etc. so that we may eventually find our way into these divine abodes.
It is our investigation and inquiry that take us through the dark places and into the light. Here we find love’s frequency.
Instead of blaming, we examine our seeing, while we hopefully remember the issue is not the issue.
When we are suffering or dissatisfied we can begin asking what is taking place right now in our body. Are we holding our breath? Holding tight? Where is the tension? This body is also our worldly home. It is where we live. If we are not present to our physical sensations we are missing our life!
Emotions come next. We usually create a story from our feelings without even noticing we have done so. It is so automatic. And stories about the situation not only are misleading, but they cause suffering. For they are just stories that come from our beliefs and attitudes. They are not the Truth! They arise from our perspective. They are very personally ours—although we may not want to own them.
By investigating our stories we can discover their roots, the beliefs and attitudes we took on as a very young child. These beliefs cause us to feel and think the way we do. Of course we feel this way now. How could it be otherwise? It is important to understand that the mind uses buried materials that have been suppressed to give us our present attitudes and perspectives.
Acknowledging our pain and suffering is the first step in healing. We stop blaming and open our eyes to how we feel and what we believe.
We eventually come to realize how very creative we have been to learn to cope (by burying the material we couldn’t live with) with impossible situations.
This is remarkable creativity! We can feel the joy in being so creative! We made it up from all the pieces we saw around us. We did it! What a journey! How many dark nights have we already gone through—and how many magical moments also helped weave this unique and tapestry we call our life!
I am learning to take joy from this simple (or is it?) act of creativity that I go through each moment. To do this I must slow down so that I can notice my interpretation of events. I color what I see.
For instance this morning I noticed how dark the day was. I had wanted (unconsciously) a bright sunny day. I only realized that because I was feeling sad. As I held my hand on my heart, acknowledging the sadness, I realized that I wanted sunshine and I got dark. This was an expectation I had.
This acknowledgment gave me the impetus to do the next right thing. Meditate. And it was a lousy meditation. Well, this was my interpretation. I had wanted a peaceful, quiet meditation. It was anything but. How often I use this statement, “This is the way it is for me, for now. And it will change.”
Who am I to judge what my soul experienced in the meditation? Often we call a “good” meditation one in which we feel peaceful and satisfied. And when we can’t seem to quiet the mind, we often interpret that as a “bad” meditation. But how do we know which is bringing us the most learning? It all works for good.
Moment by moment as I watched my responses, the day continued to develop in amazing ways. And the sun even came out!
Here is my joy—simply observing how I choose to participate in each moment.
And I am blessing each of you “co-creators” who read this.
My desire is that you take joy in your ability to create.