The theologian Peter Kreeft declares, “Joy is more than happiness, just as happiness is more than pleasure. Pleasure is in the body. Happiness is in the mind and feelings. Joy is deep in the heart, the spirit, the centre of the self.”
The canons of Buddhist doctrine propose that every single soul on this planet is in pursuit of happiness and that living with joy, without suffering, is one of the primary goals everyone should attempt to reach during a lifetime.
It’s fascinating to me, as a professional Psychic Medium, to witness how joy contributes to people’s lives, not only now, but throughout history. The Egyptian Book of the Dead, rich in ceremonial rites surrounding the afterlife, references the main questions asked by the gods of the spirit world to the candidate seeking eternal life. The gods did not inquire about the individual’s good or bad deeds, or about how much wealth and power they accumulated. Instead, they asked, “Did you have joy?” After this question, the heart of the postulant was weighed on a scale against a feather, to measure its purity.
Throughout many years of experience as a spiritual advisor, I’ve mentored my clients to pursue their lives in such a fashion, always allowing space for joy. It’s interesting that joy can be so easily understood, yet so difficult to practice. Some people find the prospect of practicing joy extremely difficult to accept and implement, as they’re busy raising families, working their jobs, or running on the proverbial treadmill of life to make ends meet. Despite life’s obstacles, most people have one major goal in common when asked about what they truly desire… a happy life. It’s difficult to realize that joy does not demand time or space, but just the willingness to embrace a changed mindset.
The human existence is indeed at times a most challenging experience. The variety of situations and roles we actualize in this life can bring about tidal waves of emotion that often make our understanding of lives fairly complicated.
So what is joy? How can one achieve a joyful state of living? My personal inspiration comes from one of the most popular quotes attributed to the scientist Albert Einstein, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” At the end of the day, life is an indescribable opportunity for wonder. Sir Thomas Merton in one of his journals wrote: “You idiot, start dancing. What are you doing just sitting around? You should be dancing because life is such a banquet, life is so beautiful.”
Joy is derived from a permanent state of gratitude and a heart awareness of the interconnection between all beings. Because a state of joyful bliss can only be felt from a peaceful heart, I personally believe it’s a fruit of Spirit.
The concept of the fruits of Spirit differ from the gifts of Spirit, mainly because the gifts are considered as graceful dispensations from the Divine Spirit, as the fruits are born within the heart of an individual, which I would say, would be a trademark of mature souls. The “Fruit of the Spirit” is what happens when the Divine Spirit indwells a believer. The “fruit” is the product of the Divine Spirit’s cultivation of character in heart.
“When we are centered in joy, we attain our wisdom.”—Marianne Williamson