“Joy is available to you more often than you think. Often, it’s a matter of choosing to identify with it during the day, rather than getting sucked into some of the louder, more dissonant voices within us. Own the choice to open to the joys and excitements, the loud and the quiet ones, of your life”
Dear Integral Meditators,
I’ve been meaning to do an article on joy for a while, and a conversation this morning prompted me to get down to it! If you enjoy the article, it will be the focus for this weeks Tuesday & Wednesday meditation class, you are welcome to join, either live or online.
After this week, I’ll be taking a break from classes for three week’s until mid-August, when we will be kicking off again withThe Wisdom of Awakening Series: Meditations for developing wisdom around inner-growth, happiness & fulfillment on Aug 15th.
In the spirit of joy,
A flower opening to the Sun – Choosing (& making distinctions around) joy
Your own vocabulary of joy
If we think about joy as an unusual or perhaps pronounced feeling of happiness, then one useful question to ask is ‘What are the activities, places, people and things that cause me joy, great or small?’ If you sit with this question, you will find a list of things that currently cause you joy. If you then make a habit of letting your attention dwell mindfully upon these subjects, then you will find that more joy comes to you and into your life. On one level, if you want more joy, this is all you need to do to start!
Causal joy is joy that is caused by an event or occasion:
- I feel joy when I paint
- I feel joy in the company of children
- I feel joy over this success
Most people experience this joy periodically. Natural joy is slightly different. Is the joy that emerges from contact with life and being. We all experience this sometimes, for example when relaxing in nature. But we can increase this contact substantially, and make it more available to us through meditation. When we develop the skill of sitting quietly and making contact with the natural warmth and vividness of our life-force and consciousness, we discover that part of its basic nature is joy. It’s like being a flower opening up to the sun; by opening to being we discover its natural warmth, light and joy. If we can access our being in this way, then joy becomes more naturally and sustainably available to us, as we don’t have to wait for something to ‘happen’ before we feel it.
Spiritual joy is very much a part of natural joy. The discovery of our ‘spiritual’ being as described above causes joy. Another aspect of spiritual joy is the joy we discover through meaningful activity
- Doing work that I feel passionate about
- Making something that benefits others in some way
- Discovering my potential & capability through a particular action
With this type of joy the activity can be hard, the going can be tough, other emotions can be coming up that are definitely not joy. Joy however accompanies the activity and ‘having done’ the activity. It’s different and more durable than the transient joy that comes just from ‘nice things’ happening to you. Find activities you find meaningful, OR find ways to discover meaning in activities you already do, and joy will follow.
Joy can exist with a range of other emotions & qualities
Most often joy does not exist in a vacuum. If we establish a strong, stable connection to joy, we discover it can happily co-exist with the sadness, frustration, excitement, disappointment, and other emotions that are of a very different tone from it. In fact, if we try and squash all our difficult emotions, we tend to squash our joy too. Real joy comes then, in part from the courage and wisdom to stay open to the range of emotions we are presented with today.
An image for joy
If you imagine a flower opening joyfully to the sun, and practice being that flower, then this is quite a powerful image to kickstart our journey into natural and spiritual joy. You can then go about exploring and growing joy in contemplation using the paragraphs above as little ‘base camps’.
A final thought, joy is available to you more often than you think. Often, it’s a matter of choosing to stay with it and identify with it during the day, rather than getting sucked into some of the louder, more dissonant voices within us. Own the choice to open to the joys and excitements, the loud and the quiet ones, of your life.
Related reading: For every suffering a joy (Cultivating positive non-attatchment)
© Toby Ouvry 2023, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com
All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:
Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)
Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (East Coast)
Starts Tues/Weds, June 13th/14th – Becoming a self-determining entity – A six-week course in Mindful Self-Leadership
Saturday July 15th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat
Starts Tuesday /Wednesday 15th/16th August – The Wisdom of Awakening Series: Meditations for developing wisdom around inner-growth, happiness & fulfillment
Saturday August 15th, 2-5pm –The Call of the Wild–Meditations for deepening your inner connection to the animal kingdom and the Green-world