“Because gratification of a desire leads to the temporary stilling of the mind and the experience of the peaceful, joyful Self, it is no wonder that we get hooked on thinking that happiness comes from the satisfaction of desires. This is the meaning of the old adage, “Joy is not in things, it is in us.” ~ Joan Borysenko …
As Joan points out, because we experience a temporary feeling of happiness from the gratification of our desires, it is quite easy for us to correlate happiness with wanting more things and then satisfying those desires. But we will never find true and lasting joy outside of us, for joy is already within us. And all that is necessary for us to experience it, is a choice–to seek it, to cultivate it, to embrace it, and then to share it with those around us.
True joy is not fleeting–it is not something to be felt only when nice things occur, but is constantly experienced and maintained even when circumstances are not going our way. All of the things that come from outside of us that bring temporal gratification–money, power, fame, sex, promotions, and so forth–only bring fleeting happiness that dissolves once our habitual emotions and perspectives take over once more. However, once we are able to find true joy within, we enable ourselves to experience perpetual happiness without being influenced by what is happening around us.
My personal joy seems to flourish best when I remove the negative elements out of my life–violent movies and TV, people who are constantly negative, complain, and criticize a lot, and those who use hateful words, gossip, and slander. In their place, I try to surround myself with positive and uplifting things such as healthy and helpful habits, wholesome avenues of entertainment and media, and caring and compassionate friends. Perhaps that is because we tend to mirror what we surround ourselves with… and our lives tend to attract more of what we give out. Therefore, our joy, or lack thereof, truly is of our own doing.
Seek the joy within your heart.
Questions to consider:
Do you experience joy within your heart? Why?
How can material things and temporal gratification have us believing that joy comes from outside?
What are some ways in which you might go about experiencing the joy within you right now?
For further thought:
Joy of life seems to me to arise from a sense of being where one belongs, as I feel right here; of being foursquare with the life we have chosen. All the discontented people I know are trying sedulously to be something they are not, to do something they cannot do.
~ David Grayson, Adventures in Friendship
Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
Is a ring at the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
Will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.
~ Mevlana Rumi