Joy and meaning – first thoughts

How often is reference made to the search for meaning in modern life?

In the last few years, I have increasingly felt that we have inadvertently turned this on its head. Rather than searching for meaning in our lives, should we perhaps be more focused on creating meanings?

We can choose to live each day aware only of surface. Or we can look beyond that surface to joy and meaning.

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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.


A first attempt at a definition of joy

I have found most dictionary definitions of joy to be sadly lacking:


The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; pleasurable feelings or emotions caused by success, good fortune, and the like, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exhilaration of spirits; delight.



The feeling of happiness, extreme cheerfulness.


My conception of joy is of something more profound.



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’.

Continue reading “A first attempt at a definition of joy”

Beginning to develop a concept of joy . . .

Look round any bookshop, scour the web – it seems to be a lot more difficult than you would imagine to find any coherent definition of ‘joy’!
Below is a mind-map that brings together some of the initial ideas that seem to relate to how people define joy.
Joy Mind-map
Joy Mindmap

Why ‘Passage to Joy’?

It seems to me that ‘joy’ is a word that has become unfashionable and, perhaps, lost meaning for the modern age.

Through this site, my aim is to explore the meaning of joy and the ways in which we can develop a capacity to tap into joy. I penned some of the first posts early in 2009 but, caught up in our move to Canada, had to put this project on the back burner. So I have re-dated the early posts to reflect the ‘launch’ of the site.

Blogging provides a public ‘scratch pad’ and, more importantly, the possibility of finding out what other people think. I invite and welcome your contributions.

Over time, I hope to draw together these ideas into a more coherent form, perhaps even a book! So if you do post your thoughts on my site please be aware of this and that it is on the understanding that you are giving me the right to reflect those thoughts in any such project.

I wish you joy!