Revisiting Joy

Joy is to be found in a place of inner quiet, the point of light within – the divine spark? It is more the manifestation of a quality of spirit than an emotion, existing only in the ‘now’.

Back in 2010, when I started this site, this was my first attempt at a definition of joy.

Revisiting joy nearly ten years on it is interesting to see where this perception has led me.

I see joy as a momentary glimpse of absolute belonging within the flow of all that is, a moment of total connectedness.

Joy is not happiness. If anything, I think it provides a glimpse of the unlimited capacity to encompass both the ecstasy and the agony of living and being human, both heart-filling and heart-breaking.

I perceive joy to exist at the level of our essential being. Young children access it more easily than adults because they have not yet fully constructed ego’s walls.

Still wilderness. The place that is most us yet remains beyond us.

Christian Wyman, Joy – 100 Poems

Those with a deep spirituality often seem to radiate joy (the Dalai Lama comes to mind). Is this, perhaps, because they have worked to shed layers of ego, to access and stay connected with the depth of being, the flow?

Let there be light

. . . joy is a flash of eternity that illuminates time.

Christian Wyman, Joy – 100 Poems

Often when we experience joy it is as an incandescent flash, almost outside of time. It is not something we can hold onto, yet it nourishes us to the core. It is, in the words of Derek Walcott, an illumination, a benediction, a visitation.

Cultivating our capacity to experience joy is also a process of honing our ability to connect, as well as to contain and to accept every shading of existence. This encompasses both the ‘natural’ and the ‘human’ world, which in the end is simply another manifestation of all that is whether you define this spiritually or in terms of particulate matter.

It is interesting that, at least according to Buddhist academic and teacher Reggie Ray, if we go back far enough in time to archaic, pre-agricultural civilizations, life’s purpose was perceived not as ‘progress’ but to stay connected with the depth of being expressed in creation. It seems to me that joy re-opens that gateway to connection and to that ‘still wilderness’.

Where is YOUR Joy?

Just over a week ago I attended a short workshop on joy. Facilitator Belinda Ageda has just posted a follow up interview on her blog, which I think beautifully illuminates the nature of joy.

Like Belinda, I feel that joy is somewhat ‘slippery’ as an idea but I also agree with her in that for me it is more a way of being than a feeling. I love her description of it as

a fine dust that covers everything . . .

Go to her site and watch the interview for more insights!

Wellness and Joy

Health, Food and Creativity - Wellness CelebrationIf you are living in Toronto and are interested in exploring the place of joy, you won’t want to miss this year’s Wellness Celebration of Health, Food, Creativity.

This will take place at Luc Sculpture and Yuri’s Village (Greenwood and Danforth) and takes as its theme “The Joy in Your Life” – I just know it’s going to be awesome!

The seeds of joy

Trees, hoar-frosted, rimed with pure, white light;
bright sun shatters morning mist . . .

Around a mirrored mountain lake,
the loon’s call echoes eerily . . .

Gold-rimmed dusk-horizon,
crowned with a paint washed sky . . .

Spiralling to earth on a jewelled night,
bright beneath blue moon.

 

Love’s first flush;
a world  more filled with meanings . . .

‘Marry me’ – a pebble’s splash that stuns and ripples outward;
secret bubble hugged close to my heart . . .

That miracle – new life;
part you, part me, but totally herself . . .

Watching your child take wing and fly –
and letting go with love . . .

 

Witnessing a face light up,
responding to your smallest act of kindness . . .

Creating magic, with intent,
for loved ones, and watching them unbend . . .

That moment when you recognise
the universe unfolding exactly as it should . . .

Making a difference, however small,
for just one person or the world.