The allusive search for “joy” begins with a stirring in the soul that something is missing. The stirring in the soul is experienced as a discomfort, a depression, perhaps some anxiety or a generalized feeling that the well-being is missing. This emotionally painful state, this debilitating state seems to manifest as a massive depletion of energy.
The question we are asking here, this morning, has to do with this energy. Is it missing, is it occupied, or is it there but dormant and waiting for some signal from the organism to awaken it.
The experience of awakening energy in ourselves ought to be a fairly simply concept to recognize. We have all felt it as adults and as children…suddenly, a burst of enthusiasm will erupt from within, brought about by a thought that is exciting:
A warm summer morning, the sun is already burning and it is only 9:00 a.m. You are sitting in front of a television watching some mindless re-run of whatever. The phone rings in the kitchen and you hear your mother answer it. “Yes,” she says, “of course, we will be ready.”
Then from the same kitchen, “Butch,” that was your aunt Alice do you want to go to the beach with your cousin Barbara?”
Immediately, my insides are jumping-for-joy. I have a purpose, I can see a desired horizon. I do not feel alone and bored and lethargic. A feeling of “YIPPIE….” stirs inside and I am up and fetching my few favorite beach toys, and my bathing suit. I sit at the counter and watch as Mom prepares the lunch that we will be taking to the beach.
The example of going from bad to good, from negative to positive, from sad to glad or from any depleted state to a state of abundance, is a phenomenal experience and we can dig into our past and find examples of this transition.
But, what if we do not have an Aunt Alice, or what if we can not locate anything outside of us that will give us the lift that we need to proceed? What happens to the question of accessing “JOY” if we find ourselves alone with our feelings so overwhelmingly lonely that we try not to even open our eyes, or we find we have to stay in bed just to not hurt so badly?
The Universe, the Higher Consciousness, God, Buddha, the Wind and the Breeze, these are the raw materials of joy. But like any raw-material, finding the quartz in a stone of granite may be easier than it is to extract the smokey brown quartz from where it has been nestled for a multitude of life-times.
The raw material is “Joy,” but the product that we will need to extract the joy from the granite stone is “Love”.
Loving something–deliberately finding something to love is the route that we must take to move ourselves from a negative state to a positive state. Now, some who hear this will immediately respond with something like, “well, if I was in love of course I would feel different.”
What I am talking about is finding something in your immediate environment that you can point to and say, “I love that old chair, I love that coffee cup. I love to sit alone with my first cup of coffee or my first cup of tea in the morning.” The way this is accomplished is by the process of deliberate intent. The horizon has to contain something that we want.
Desire is the center-piece of human love and is therefore the route to joy. Joy is nothing less than our purpose on earth. The multitude of things, good or bad, that can happen to a human is exponential with age. As we move through life it become more and more important to know what and how we Love.
Love is an action word. The infinitive verb, “to love” is an active verb. It is not a noun–it is not a person place or thing, Love is an action that we take, the results of which are the internal contentments that we can name “Joy”.
The default position of the human ego is sultry even stifling. The ego is the manifestation of the brain that is charged with the accumulation of intellect. No amount of accumulated intellect will provide joy. If a smile come slightly across your face when you think of something–pursue that thing, you will be following love right to the doorway of Joy.
The smallest manifestations count toward assimilating this idea. I love to swim in the lake, becomes an action of I am going down to the water for a swim. The act of loving the coffee cup that I have had for the past 30 years brings me a slight smile when I find it among the other twenty or so cups…the rest are cups. This cup I love..knowing that I love it, stopping to acknowledge that I love it will lead to the feeling of joy creeping into my spirit.
This is not hard philosophy or hard science. This is common sense, applied psychoanalysis, applied buddhism if you wish. It is not something that only some of us know, or only some of us have; it is a universal law that works with each individual mind that applies itself to idea of deliberate intent. I want to feel better. I want to laugh. I want to find my favorite coffee cup, I want to call my friend, I want to visit my family, I want to swim, I want to enjoy my life…these statements of purpose all lead to joy, full-filled by acknowledging that we love something.
Find something to Love.