Imbolc New Life Moon
This will be given out at Thursday mussar after we’ve completed Kate’s exercise about joy in three life stages and discussed how our experiences might help us define and seek out joy.
“Yesterday, Rich and I sat down and had a short chat about it. Is Joy a verb? Is Joy an emotion? Is it a state of mind or being? And it got me thinking.
What if joy is the energy of life? And what it if manifests as a persistent yet invisible glow or aura that emanates from us at all times… sometimes it’s bright and sometimes dim. The more mindful we are of it, the brighter the glow / aura becomes. We can certainly sense when someone is joyful without them telling us, right? We sense their joyfulness even if they don’t speak (is that charisma?) The Dalai Lama emanates joy. I’ve never met him but I imagine he is joyful even when he is sad or ill (which he must be sometimes, right?) But how can you be sad or ill and still be joyful?
Maybe joy is not a state of well-being, but simply the state of being, period. Not physical, not mental, not emotional, just the fact of being alive is joy. Life is joy. Do trees glow? Do animals glow? Do we feel joy in the forest or in the presence of others? I think so.
My practice is simply going to be to focus on life as joy. Living as joy. Separate from all other things… including pain, sorrow, anger, jealousy. Let me know if you see my glow… because I’ll be looking for yours.” Ron Solomon, by permission
In Everyday Holiness Alan Morinis discusses the middot of simplicity. He identifies three levels of simplicity: acquiring less, becoming happy with what you already have, and nothing more to need. This last level, he says, sets joy free in the heart. “Released from craving and the relentless pursuit of more material satisfactions, perfectly content with what is, the heart bubbles forth with joy that is its potential and natural inclination.”
Marilyn Saltzman found this quote by the Dali Lama: “We can experience happiness at the deeper level through our mind, such as through love, compassion and generosity. What characterizes happiness at this deeper level is the sense of fulfillment that you experience. While the joy of the senses is brief, the joy at the deeper level is much longer lasting. It is true joy.” “The Book of Joy” by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama
A few synonyms from Roget: delight, gladness, rapture, exaltation, exhilaration, transport, abandonment, ecstasy, rejoicing
OED: Joy, sb. (substantive), 1. A vivid emotion of pleasure arising from a sense of well-being, or satisfaction; the feeling or state of being highly please or delighted, exultation of spirit; gladness, delight. 2. A pleasurable state or condition; a state of happiness or felicity; esp. the perfect bliss or beatitude of heaven; hence, the place of bliss, paradise. Joy, v. (verb), 1 To experience joy; to find or take pleasure; to enjoy oneself. 2. To feel or manifest joy; to be glad; to rejoice, exalt. 3. To fill with joy; gladden; delight