Unconditional Joy

Dear Dr. Laurie:

You and others have spoke much about accepting things as they are and not judging them one way or another. I am reminded of the classic Zen story of a farmer and his son. As soon as the son judged something as good or bad, life provided a new situation that showed his judgment could have been completely in error. One portion of the story tells of a celebrated new horse that broke the boy's leg. The boy viewed this as bad, until this broken leg prevented him from being drafted into the war. The father continually says something like, Yes, this has happened but who knows what is good or bad.

For the most part I can accept an occurrence for just that; something that has happened and thus providing an opportunity to learn. Although less proficient at applying this principle to emotions, I can see the advantage to experiencing an emotion for what it is. Self discovery can then come when looking into what has created that particular emotion. Where I begin to get confused is when applying this principle to my life at the same time allowing in more joy. I think it is a universal believe that large amounts of joy in a person's life is good.

Joy is a relative term. To know joy, one must also know the other side, or opposite of this emotion. In the realm of Yin and Yang, one defines the other. One can not exist without the other because by itself, it is meaningless. Following that line of thought, in order to know what joy is, we need to define it. In defining something however, judgment inherently becomes part of the process Again this is judgment, based on our past experiences, beliefs, and values.

After all of this, my short question for you is: how can we have joy without judgment?

May joy find its way into your every day.
- Mark


Reply:

Dear Mark,

True and lasting joy is a type of energy that is not the energy of emotions. Emotional happiness is based upon needing something to be a particular way. When the circumstances changes the happiness leaves.

People spend years trying to create the right circumstances so that they can be happy. Ultimately, it doesn't work. When you finally realize that emotional happiness is as ephemeral as your human body you look for deeper joy. Deeper joy can easily from choosing to love Spirit or life or others or oneself. If you trace the etymology of spirit you will discover that it means breath. One way to find the only kind of joy that lasts is found through breath/meditation.

Another way to find this joy is to choose love over all other options in all situations. Decide that the only thing that is important is love. Love life. Love Love Spirit. Love animals. Love people. Love nature. Love love. Make each moment an opportunity to love. When you practice this moment after moment, day after day, the love becomes far more important than the circumstances. Let your heart be your teacher.

The fastest way to experience the most pleasure is to discipline your mind so that it is in a constant state of gratitude. Focus on every gift life brings and the second the mind tries to complain return its focus to something for which you are grateful. What you focus on will come to you so focus on gratitude and gratitude will become that of which you are made. One who lives in constant gratitude will know unconditional joy.

What a profound question. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to answer it.


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