Taking the Lid Off Joy
Yesterday Sandra and I were talking to one of our closest friends Tim about the Christmas break. He was telling us how wonderful it had been to be amongst his family and how being with them had made him so happy and joyful.
It was wonderful to watch his expression as he re-lived a particular day where they had all been sat around the fire watching his little daughter playing. He ended his story by saying that this year he was going to ‘go out there and find more joy’.
It struck me how he was attributing his joy to the occasion. Indeed most of us do. We believe that we feel happy BECAUSE of the occasion, because of something that is happening to us. Whilst this is close to the truth, is not completely true.
States like joy, peace and love are already within us and they arise in us when we feel safe enough to allow them.
These essential states are already in us, they do not come from outside at all. But over the years our conditioning has taught us to contain and hide them because other people find them difficult to cope with. We are taught to play small. We are so used to keeping them hidden away we are no longer aware we are even doing it. If you don’t believe me then think of a child at play. Joy is not something they are getting from the outside it is something they are allowing themselves to feel, children can take the greatest pleasure from the smallest things because they have not yet been taught to contain their joy.
When we find ourselves in a place where we are happy or peaceful or loving it is because we have lowered our guard and allowed those states to be felt.
When Tim said he was going to find joy this year, he meant he was going to look outside for what made him joyful. Sandra and I suggested rather than go around chasing joy as if it were something to be captured out there in the world, why not investigate how he is creating internal barriers to joy. How he might be putting a lid on his Joy?
How much more sustainable would it be if Joy were viewed as something already there that you simply had to take the lid off? What are you keeping a lid on?