Thursday, 21 November 2019

Reflections on Joy

Earlier this week, after a meditation group, I was filled with joy in getting to see and receive hugs from a number of people I haven't seen in a bit that were coming in for the next yoga class.  I felt like I was floating. In thinking about this feeling of joy, I reflect, "what really is this joy?' 

When doing a quick search on joy and religions, joy is used interchangeably with happiness. To me, these two words, happy and joy, feel different. Happy is use used so often in regular, daily language, i.e. to wish one a "happy" holiday, 'happy birthday,' I'm 'happy, not sad or angry.'  It's another word for positive and feels more surface or generic since it's used so much.

Joy, on the other hand, feels like openness, love, connection.  It happens when I connect with people,
animals, nature.  It happens when I'm in the present moment, really enJOYing  what is happening right now.  It happens when I notice the small details of life. It leads to gratitude and abundance.

With each person I saw in that morning a few days ago, I felt I was seeing and feeling each person and their beautiful, divine self.  I did just come out of a 30 minute meditation, so I was already practicing being in the moment, which may have allowed me to connect with each person more fully, rather than thinking of what I was going to do next and rushing.

One of my favorite memories of joy was many years ago when I worked a summer job in college at a Montessori preschool.  It was the end of a day and I was out on the playground with several 4 year olds who were riding around on tricycles. One of them made a joke to me as he rode by and erupted in pure laughter at the joke, throwing his head back.  I can still hear his laughter. Every time I think about this moment, even now, my heart fills and I cannot hold back from smiling and laughing myself. A moment filled with joy!

I believe that a true part of experiencing joy is being present, fully aware of the experience, not distracted with mind either in the past or future.  Joy is bordering on bliss, which to me is connection with the divine, God, Holy Spirit, or whatever word you may choose.  It is an indication that I am right here, right now.

In this month, which many religions practice connecting and celebrating God and Spirit, it's no wonder that JOY is spoken about in song and scripture as this is a time many people consciously spend being in connection with each other, in spiritual practices/rituals, and enJOYing time just to rest and do nothing.

How do you connect with joy? How do you define joy?  How can we all keep connecting with joy throughout the year?