There’s nothing quite like the sweet abandon felt in a moment of pure Joy.
All anxieties of the past & fears for the future have slipped away. The mind has become completely serene and wrapped up in a cozy embrace of bliss and ecstasy. What is the source of this great expression? How does it arrive; and where does it go when the dark clouds of worry and gloom roll in?
Let’s Explore Joy For A Moment
Imagine you’ve entered this reality: You’re on a powdery, white, sandy beach, watching the most colorful sunset you’ve ever seen. The breeze is light and warm. The ocean air smells sweetly of sea salt and algae.
In this very moment, your mind is only HERE. Not even a single thought of work, or bills, or to-do lists trickles across your tranquil mind. It is as still as a windless lake.
The waves gently touch the shore and slowly recede into the watery ambiance of dusk.
In this particular moment… You’re experiencing the purest expression of Joy.
The joy you’re feeling was not caused. It was realized.
But, what is it that is “causing” your profound joy at this time? There doesn’t seem to be an object or cause. Is it the sand or the sunset? Is it the smells or the warmth?
Then you realize…
It is none of these sense pleasures you’re experiencing.And it isn’t even the entirety of the moment. After all, you’ve been to this beach before and experienced a similar sunset.
The joy you’re feeling was not caused. It was realized.
You realize, Joy is always here. It is a permanent and prevailing reality existing deep within the heart of your heart.
It’s only that, for the most part, during your day-to-day life situations, you’ve forgotten joy. It gets veiled and covered up by the countless worries, anxieties, stresses, and restless desires (fulfilled and unfulfilled).
So, how is it that this glorious sunset experience has “caused” so much joy?
And here in lies the mystery of Joy… There is no direct cause. It’s only that your mind has finally become still enough to experience the eternal and infinite Joy that is always here.
How do we know this?
We know this to be true, because of a simple, yet unplanned and unwelcome, experiment with adversity.
It must have been about 5 years ago now…
I had only just arrived in Florida a few months ago at this point in time – ready to live the good life in my very own apartment – all to myself. Freedom alas!
But, as you might have guessed, with this “freedom” came several strings attached; a fair share of “fine-print” responsibilities that mom and dad used to pay for.
Bills! Lot’s of them. Basic needs, like toilet paper, paper towel, plates, silverwear, and furniture.
But, let’s rewind for a moment…
When I first arrived in beautiful Orlando, Florida, I was thrilled. I came from the cold Michigan winters that darkened the skies for nearly half the year, and chilled you to your bones.
Florida weather is a striking contrast…
And for me, the simple act of spotting another palm tree sent me into a bout of immense joy and happiness.
I would walk to the pool smiling end to end! It was wonderful. (palm trees still make me smile to this day)
But, again, only a couple of months in, and the savings I had brought with me was all but completely used up. Now, I was living paycheck-to-paycheck.
The dire reality of my situation dawned on me one day when my paycheck didn’t arrive on time, but, the due date for my rent did.
So, when I woke up that morning to check my account, and saw that it read -$1,224… You might imagine the terror I experienced in that moment. This had never happened to me before.
Would I get kicked out? Would they shut off the power on this HOT Florida day? Would I be charged a humungous fee that I couldn’t afford?
I just didn’t know.
So, I walked out to my mailbox for the first of a dozen times that day, to look for my check. Each walk became more and more dreadful.
A walk that had just the other day been the most delightful – filled with so much joy at the sight of the palms and the flowers and the people playing volley ball…
Now, the palm trees brought no joy to my heart. I felt as if they were as gloomy and stressed as I was.
But as the day dragged on, I did manage to make it to “the end”… and it was then that the realization dawned on me… conveniently around sunset. It was the final walk, and I knew that if the check wasn’t in the mail this time (which I was about 99% sure that it wasn’t) then it wouldn’t be coming that day.
So, when I arrived at the mailbox and peeked in for the twelfth time, to find that nothing at all was awaiting me, a surge of tremendous relief came over me. (not what I was expecting)
I felt a vivid type of total surrender.
And in this moment I realized the simple, yet subtle, truth about joy.
I could do nothing more. I had to wait until tomorrow. I couldn’t pay anyone. No one was coming to ask me for anything. I was beyond broke (bank account wise) and it didn’t matter anymore. Maybe it didn’t the entire day. After all, it was a Sunday – and had I known that the mail didn’t get delivered on Sundays, perhaps I would have felt differently.
But, I’m grateful for having had this experience, because…
No sooner did this happen did I feel the joy I’d been missing all day. The sunset was painting the sky in a magnificent array of purples, pinks, reds, and yellows – contrasted by the brilliant blue sky beyond. The breeze was warm and calming. The palm trees, and tropical flowers once again brought a big smile to my recently troubled face.
And in this moment I realized the simple and subtle truth about joy.
Like the pure blue sky, Joy is always present, but, when the dark clouds of worry, grief, stress, anxiety, fear, and tension come rolling in… it becomes shrouded and we forget that it exists.
It’s in these moments, that the only thing we need to do happens to be one of the toughest things to do…
To recapture our joyous state, all we need to do is melt the clouds of doubt and fear and realize that we are the ones who are veiling it.
And the most effective method for dispersing these miseries is to “surrender” into the moment without the obstructions of stress, worry, and anxiety.
Contrary to what we tend to think, it is actually in these moments of surrendering – accepting the situation just as it is (not to be mistaken for “quitting” or “playing victim”) – that we discover the best solutions to our challenges and problems.
Joy has no cause. Joy is ever-present and eternal. It is right within your heart.
If you cannot “see” it, it is only the veil of fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt that needs to be removed. You don’t need to go anywhere to experience joy. You can live joyfully in this very moment.
May you be peaceful & happy.
May you be joyous!
Om & Prem.