“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?” ~ Swami Satchidananda
What is joy? It is not something we have to seek after, for it is already inside us. It is a state of mind. It is understanding and acceptance of life and of who we are at this very moment. It is peace and contentment. In the midst of all the chaos around us, it is the calm serenity that we feel inside. And it is contagious, as Swami notes–others will involuntarily become overcome with it just by being in its presence. So if our time on this world could end at any minute, “why not die happily, laughing?”
Over the years, I have come to realize that I determine my own level of joy. And with a simple choice each day, it becomes easy to experience it and to share it with others in my life. When I wake up in the morning, I can remind myself that today is a joy-filled day. And when things do not seem to work out as I had hoped, or difficulties come my way, I can keep a healthy level of peace and serenity about me.
Peace and joy in our lives is free. So why not smile at others? Why not experience it and share it among those you encounter? Why not live your life in a way that on the day you die, you do so in happiness and joy?
Choose to have a happy and joy-filled state of mind today.
Questions to consider:
Are you joyful? Is it easy to be so?
Which situations bring you the most joy? How often do you experience them? How often do you seek them out?
Is joy the norm or the exception in those people that you know?
For further thought:
“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.” ~ Shauna Niequist