All spiritual paths tell us the same basic truth: your natural and divine state is one of Joy. When you strip away the dogma and sectarianism that spiritual and religious organizations can false promote, deep spiritual teachings also concur in telling us that what keeps us from our joy, and keeps us in dissatisfaction, misery and sometimes pain, is a result of pursuing illusory sources of happiness. In our search for happiness we actually pursue things that end up contributing to our dissatisfaction instead. Correcting this illusory search is a basic aspect of the human journey to its spiritual goal.
What are the illusory sources of satisfaction that blind us to our true search? Why is it so difficult for us to find the joy that is actually part of who we really are? And how can we find that joy?
We can offer a brief answer to this question by looking at what inner joy is. Inner joy is the experience of happiness under any and all conditions: a feeling of being full, so full indeed of the love of life flowing through you that nothing can deter you from holding that feeling in your heart. This feeling of fullness, of inner bliss, is a natural and inevitable result of self-exploration. It is a result of becoming fascinated by looking at, exploring and mastering the way your mind and body work. The end result of self-mastery is freedom: freedom from the negative emotions and thoughts that plague and control all human beings; and freedom from physical pain. Emotional, mental and physical distress are what make life uncomfortable for us. When we learn to master these, we have true freedom, and as soon as we find that freedom, we find joy. We let go of negative feelings, mental restlessness and physical discomfort, and we begin to truly experience the current of life energy flowing through us. That is the infinite energy of the universe using each of us as its unique channel and unique vehicle of expression.
In the end, what keeps us from joy is the illusion of our own powerlessness, and the accompanying feeling of fear. We feel powerless and we suffer from fear when we feel in any way dependent on someone or something else for our sense of well-being. That something can be approval of others or it can be financial abundance; it can be having the right home in the right neighborhood, or having your children or mate meet your expectations. It can be feeling you are doing the ‘right’ thing, as dictated by your church, your temple or your social group, or it can be getting your boss or manager to treat you the way you want to be treated. Whenever our sense of well-being depends on something outside us, we are in trouble. That something outside us can always fail us, and that is the source of our fear. On the other hand, when we have learned the true road to self-actualization, the inner road, we have also learned that nothing, nothing, nothing can keep us from joy. That’s when you have arrived.
Happiness is yours. It’s as natural to you as the skin on your body. It’s up to you to discover it. You start your journey when you realize that joy is your birthright, because at least then you begin to recognize the signs of being on the wrong path, and to explore how to heal your inner life and find your true joy.
If you are not truly happy now, then you have a wonderful journey of discovery ahead of you. Don’t let anything keep you from that journey (and stay tuned!). If you live in Westchester or the New York city area, you may also want to join me for my next monthly class on Self-Actualization: the Path to Joy. Here are the dates:
Wednesday, October 21, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 24, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Preregistration is required, and the fee is $40. Participation in each class is limited to fifteen people, on a first come, first serve basis.To pre-register, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. You can pay via credit card on the internet, or by snail mail. Let me know which you prefer. Finally, the location is 341 Furnace Dock Road, Unit #1, Cortlandt Manor NY 10567. I will send directions once registration is received.
I look forward to hearing from you. Meanwhile, many blessings on your journey!