Excerpted from Adventures on The Quest
One joy scatters a hundred griefs.—Chinese Proverb
We can wait for joy to be triggered by winning the lottery or by having someone express love for us or by our favorite team winning a game or by getting a hole in one. Still, if we wait for something to turn joy on, then something else will be able to turn joy off.
Joy is already ours. It is a gift from God instilled in us at our creation. Like love, it is always a part of us, always ready to be activated. We don't have to wait for something to throw our joy switch. We can activate it in ourselves, not because of what's going on in our lives, or even in spite of what's going on, but simply because we are.
God continually sends us joys. They come to us like birds seeking a nest, but if we do not acknowledge them, they sit and sing awhile in our soul, and then fly away.
Joy is Everywhere
There is no circumstance that can force you to relinquish your joy. While it may seem absurd to think that it’s possible to experience joy when a tragedy strikes our lives, the fact remains that the potential for joy exists at every moment. It is always we who decide if it will express. It is always our decision. Yet our joy can never be greater than the idea we have of it, simply because joy is always an inside job.
1. What physical act brings you the most joy? Why?
There are probably many physical things you do that bring you joy: eating, dancing, a hobby, and many more. Choose one and write a few paragraphs on why it makes you happy.
2. What emotional thought or feeling brings you the most joy? Why?
This could include the feelings you get when you are with a special person in your life or the feeling of satisfaction with a job well done.
3. What spiritual sensation brings you the most joy? Why?
Perhaps you had a spiritual insight in your meditation that brought you great joy.
4. Compare the joy you feel in each of these areas. Which is the most special, and how can you make that joy more dominant in your life?
5. True joy, since it comes from within, is always waiting to be experienced. It transcends any of the joys you listed in Activities 1 and 2.
Sit quietly, now in a comfortable seat. As you relax your body and mind, think of the word joy as you inhale and exhale each breath. Then remain in the silence for several minutes as you allow the feelings of joy to bubble up from deep within you, sweeping through every cell of your body. Stay as long as you like in this state. When you are ready, slowly come back to the present reality, bringing the buoyancy of joy with you.
Make a note this week of all the things that bring you joy. Joy comes not from circumstances themselves but from our adjustment to those circumstances. Be aware of the circumstances activating your joy. Was it reactive—was your joy dependent on changing circumstances? Or was your joy proactive—did you initiate the action yourself?
Strive to Make Someone Happy
It doesn’t really matter what you do or to whom you do it, only that you try to make someone happy. Don’t be limited to those you know or those you love. You can strive to make a stranger happy by letting him or her ahead of you in the supermarket or by allowing a car the right-of-way. You can give a compliment to your waiter or waitress . You can ask a co-worker if he or she needs help with a particular problem. You can show more interest in an acquaintance. Use your imagination. If you are serious about striving to make others happy this week, you will be shown the way.
You are filled with joy.