Posts Tagged Joy
The Enchanted Forest of Childhood
There was a wooded lot two houses down from my home in the neighborhood where I grew up. We called it “the woods.” At times, the lot became an enchanted forest. This was especially true when I invited a friend to play in the woods with me. One of my friends shared my enthusiasm for vintage horror films. We transformed into monsters and created our own scripts using the enchanted forest as our stage.
One afternoon, I remember playing Frankenstein to my friend’s Wolf Man. I can still clearly remember scenes from this “play” forty years later. When our time together had almost expired, an invisible alarm clock sounded inside me. We had to return to my house. My friend’s mother would be calling any minute to arrange a pickup. I stood at the border of the woods, one foot in the wilds and the other on the neatly mowed grass of an adjacent home. This is the thought that ran through my head:
Next year we’ll be in seventh grade and we won’t be able to do this anymore.
Another alarm clock had sounded, only the chimes of this one struck an infinitely more somber note. The chimes said the time had arrived to put this chapter of my life behind me. I was not in the least bit happy at the news.
The Paradox of Growing Up
Growing up is often associated with pain, and I am certainly no stranger to this experience. Growing up is scary. We have to separate from the umbilicus of parents, stand on our own two feet, compete for a niche in society, establish loving relationships, become parents, and face death at the end of our journey. Truth be told, I’ve never really wanted to grow up. To this day, I am not a big fan of “putting away childish things.” But it seems growing up is something a human being cannot avoid if he or she desires to lead a constructive, creative life.
Here’s a trick I’ve learned that makes the medicine of growing up a lot easier to take—ladle in generous doses of daily joy.
You may be thinking (or laughing to yourself and at me): How do I do that with the uncomfortable pressures and time crunch of work and family responsibilities? Relax. We’ll get to the answer, but first, we need a little more background.
I get stuck creatively and psychologically if I’m not experiencing joy on some kind of a regular basis.
The Power of Joy
Obviously, joy is a precious and elusive commodity. It takes effort and a multi-faceted strategy to experience it. Joy is the elixir of life in my universe. It is the oil that allows this machine called me to run smoothly. When I’m feeling joy, I’m more creative. My work reaches a higher level. I am more motivated. I want to expand my heart and mind. I want to do what it takes to reach my goals. I am more equipped to help others. When I’m feeling joy, work becomes play. I’m back in the enchanted forest with my sixth grade friend. Resistance evaporates in the presence of joy.
Where does this joy come from? It comes from within me. It comes from within you. The only way to find the joy that does not depend on something outside of ourselves is to establish daily practices that uncover this innate joy. Since we are all unique individuals, we have to find the way to tap into this joy, or source, that we resonate with, that works for us. The only generalization we can make is: JOY IS WITHIN YOU, waiting to be discovered, if you haven’t discovered it already.
I’ve had to go out of the mainstream to find my joy. It hasn’t been easy, because I’m a very conventional person. Yet, something inside me kept pushing me to find an undefinable something more. I was always attracted by the idea of finding God within me, but the Eastern inspired approach of dissolving the ego never remotely interested me. And it is obviously impractical and inappropriate for survival and success in our Western culture. I would add that it’s also a mentally unhealthy approach.
Thankfully, I’ve found that any ego destructive approach is totally unnecessary. Through my research and personal experience, I’ve learned that consciousness has evolved beyond the concept of ego dissolution. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy ego. We need one in our Western civilization to survive and enjoy our lives. I’ve found a path that honors both the individual self and the universal self. It’s a path of embodied consciousness. It embraces both transcendent and every-day awareness.
You Are More Than You Think You Are
The foundation of my practice is meditation. It is my gateway to a reservoir of inner peace, joy, and love.
What do you want? Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Anything is possible. Peace is possible. Love is possible. Joy is possible. Find it. It is waiting for you in the depths of your heart.
David Gittlin has written three feature length screenplays, produced two short films, and published three novels. Before quitting his day job, he spent more than thirty years as a marketing director building expertise in advertising, copywriting, corporate communications, collateral sales materials, website content/design and online marketing.
This is a guest blog from a Swedish man who writes under the pen name, Fomtriok. I find his writing to be profound and insightful, even more so than published books I’ve read on the human condition. I’ve included his short bio at the end of the post. Enjoy!
There is this disposition that some people have, but most people lack. If one does lack it, it is the simplest thing in the world getting it back. Because everyone had it once. It doesn’t really demand an outward action to get it back, but it rather demands the courage to step out of line and accept having it.
Let us get started.
Children – they live their lives from the inside out. They start focusing on one thing, then they start trying to understanding one thing; playing with, lifting up, measuring, biting, fumbling with – one thing. And then they move to the next. Part by part they get to know their own selves, their room, their house, their universe.
Most adults, however, live their lives from the outside in. They start out by simply acquiring some locale in which to live. Thus, they start with the shell. And they start with a schedule that is empty of activities. Then they ask themselves, ”What do I put in this shell of a house? In this shell of a schedule?” And one by one, they start filling the house with objects, and possibly even a family. Gradually, they start filling their schedule with activities, musts and obligations. From the outside in.
That is no way to live life. That life is unnatural. It is a mere imitation and parody of life. It is the life of a machine. People who live like that often find themselves unhappy and ask themselves, “Why am I unhappy?” The question is ironically a manifestation of the very problem. They ask themselves, “What do I lack? What is it that I have not yet put into my life, or schedule?” So they try to add even more things, or activities, to fill the void, and “fix” what they assume is the problem; that a certain thing, or event is lacking.
But they are doing it all wrong. It is not so much that they add things, but rather how and why they add things. The underlying problem – sickness even – is that they are living from the outside in: They add things only after careful consideration. That is not life. That is work. Life happens when you turn the whole thing upside down, and start from the inside. Then you won’t even notice whether you are adding or removing things, because all that consumes your attention is primal and unaltered curiosity.
Those souls who drive the world forward, in the small or the big sense, never abandon the way of the child. They never stop living their lives from the inside out. They never stop focusing childishly and joyfully on the small “toy” – on that singular point of interest. They could care less whether others perceive their curiosity as weird or normal. And only from that standpoint do they gradually work their way outwards into the unknown, constantly playing, constantly putting together and taking apart; disassembling and reassembling, over and over, in an infinite loop. Until the whole room has a role in the game. And then the child starts over. With a new room, or the same room from an entirely new perspective. From the inside out. And the game is on again.
That is a true life. It is the only life that is happy and free. It is simple – even when it is complex. It is irrelevant whether your point of curiosity might be pottery, or explaining a complex scientific phenomena. It is still an utterly simple life.
When you are a child, there is no arrogance. You do not drag others down with cynicism. Nor do you let cynics drag you down. You merely play. At the end of the day, that is all life is; a vast playground for us to fill with meaning.
My name is Oscar Herrgård. I am Swedish. I am interested in meeting fascinating and kind people, who think well, but also act and don’t just talk.
I want to share my story. This journal is simply one of my windows to the world. Already long ago I decided that the only life I want to live, is one where I wholeheartedly dedicate myself to solving some of the greatest challenges in our world (most importantly climate change and socioeconomic unfairness). Life is simply wasted if you don’t spend it doing what is most valuable to you. Don’t become; Rather be. Don’t want or plan; Rather be. Incorporate your ideals in the small detail here and now. That is how you move mountains.
“The Sun in Your Heart is Rising.”
I’ve been working towards a spiritual awakening for most of my adult life, and it seems I’m on the brink of a promising development in my growth process. There are many paths to “higher consciousness” and many kinds of spiritual awakenings. In fact, each of us is destined for his or her own unique awakening. For the past five years, I’ve been involved in something called “Waking Down in Mutuality.” WDM is a path that nurtures an embodied individual awakening through energetic transmission and various forms of study and group participation. There are no gurus. It is not a cult. The people who help other people to awaken are teachers and facilitators. There is no hierarchy. There is no dogma. There are no “shoulds” or “oughts.”
The chances are that you’ve never heard of anything like WDM. You’re not alone. Less than one percent of the world’s population is interested in transformative spiritual awakening. You may be wondering why I’m interested. The answer is simple: I want to experience more peace, love and joy in my life than most other pursuits can provide.
Thanks to the evolution of consciousness and the opportunities and modalities provided by WDM and its close relative, Trillium Awakening, I don’t have to be a monk or a saint to awaken. I don’t have to destroy or surrender my ego. I can just be me, whatever that is. I don’t have to separate spirit and matter. I can live a relatively normal life while opening myself to the treasures of the Heart, every chance I get.
Recently, I’ve made a discovery. It’s a big one. It’s really more of an experience than a mental concept. I’ve realized that self-worth ultimately has nothing to do with accomplishment. Equating self-worth with achievement is a trap that most of us fall into.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with striving to accomplish things, or to be a better you, or in getting better at whatever it is you do. It definitely feels good to get things done and to improve. As an example, I enjoy the feeling of writing this. It feels good to create something new. But writing a best-selling novel will never give me the deep down satisfaction, wholeness, and completeness that my heart craves. This type of satisfaction can only be found buried deep within my heart. The same is true for you.
I’m not sure where I’m going from here, but I’m confident it will lead to more and more happiness and self-satisfaction. It won’t happen overnight. What’s important is that it’s happening. As WDM founder and spiritual teacher Saniel Bonder likes to say, “The Sun in Your Heart is Rising.” That sounds pretty good to me.
Here is a vision of my future self and a vision for anyone else who desires to achieve something along these lines:
It is not just another day.
I swim in the ocean of bliss.
I merge with the beauty that I am and the beauty that we are. I sing the body ecstatic. I consciously raise my vibration out of the ordinary into the extraordinary.
I am alive with the wellness of Being.
I am no longer bound by the constraints of frustration and the boredom of routine. This is the new world I have been seeking. In this moment, amidst the peace and the flow, nothing else matters.
The problems of the world don’t exist. My perceived problems don’t exist because the wall of separation is breaking down—like the Berlin Wall.
The minor irritations don’t exist because everything is taken care of in this moment of sublime peace and bliss.
Yes, it is possible to live in an ocean of tranquility; to drink divine nectar; to radiate joy to every person I meet; to live beyond prescribed norms.
The Heart of Life opens. I jump from my perch of uncertainty and the light opens its arms to me. It is a good light. It will not hurt me. I trust it will take me where my heart truly wants to go.
I am not alone. I fear no evil. I have faith. I have trust. I believe in myself and the essential goodness of my creator.
I am love. I am beauty. I am everything I want to be and beyond.
There is no end to the depths and heights of this glorious reality.
Something is prompting me to write this, even though I’m far from an expert on the subject. I’m writing about an inkling. This mysterious prompting tells me that the inkling is a precursor to the direct knowledge of the something prompting me. If I’m confusing you, I promise to be more clear in what follows.
What I’ve heard, read, and now feel strongly, is that each one of us carries a seed of the divine within us. And, believe it or not, the ultimate purpose of human life is to discover this seed, water it, and watch it bloom into a gorgeous individual expression of the divine. Please don’t be put off by the word “divine”. I have to use a word to describe this miracle. It can be described by many names, so I invite you to choose one that you feel comfortable with.
I’m going to go way out on a limb and try to describe what the divine means to me. First of all, it’s a feeling or combination of feelings rather than an idea. It is peace, joy and love. It is a sense of “all rightness.” It is the certain knowledge that the divine is benevolent. It wants what is good for me. It does not want to hurt me. I feel this very deeply, although my mind often tries to tell me not to trust it.
When we access the divine within, we find that it is a place of peace. It is a refuge from the troubled world outside. We can access this inner world through a daily practice of meditation. In the case of an awakened being, the divine can be accessed by the simple awareness of what’s happening in the present; an awareness of everything that is arising from within and the deeper sense of peace, joy and love underneath what is arising.
Accessing this place on a daily basis keeps me sane.
The divine is so much more than mere words can express. It is so much more than I’ve expressed here. That’s all I have to say for now.
Oh, wait. I promised to talk about the light streaming through my body that I described at the end of my last blog “Innate Goodness.” I’ll try to keep this brief, because I know I’ve already blabbed for too long.
Simply put, I can say that this experience was the dawn of the “Sun in my Heart Rising” as Saniel and Linda-Groves-Bonder say as facilitators of embodied awakening in their Waking Down in Mutuality™ courses.
Where does self-confidence come from? Where does it go when we need it most?
How does an energetic child with a mountainous capacity for curiosity grow into a narrow-minded, emotionally constricted adult full of hopelessness and suffering?
The answer is simple. We lose the key to the door that opens to a satisfying existence; belief in ourselves and the faith that every day can be sculpted into a masterpiece of joy.
Self-confidence is an elusive commodity that fluctuates with life’s events including, but not limited to; our mood, brain chemistry, the weather, acceptance or rejection. It is a fragile, unpredictable elixir; here today, gone tomorrow. Yet for a fortunate few, it is a constant, a second nature, a faithful servant and friend.
With self-confidence, we can create the next, great wonder of the world. Without it, we walk bent over through life, a mere shadow on the wall, a faint reflection of our glorious and noble human potential.
If your self-confidence is at a low ebb, you can take the first step towards a more joyful and productive life by LOVING YOURSELF. Forgive yourself for past transgressions, whether real or imagined. Start each day with a clean slate. The past is dead. The future is a possibility based on how you think and what you chose to do in this very moment.
Think with hope in your heart. Hopeful thoughts are positive, creative, loving thoughts. Hopeful thoughts will fill you with possibilities. They will fill you with confidence in yourself because they come from your true self, the real you.
There are always two roads stretching before us. One road leads to freedom and joy. The other one leads to misery and limitation. Take the time, right now, to cast away doubt and fear. Listen to your inner voice, the one that wants to set you free.
Self-confidence comes from being the person you truly are; your best self. Trust yourself. Love yourself. Let the flame of love grow in your heart. Seek the sources that support and nurture your truest and best self. Self-confidence will bloom automatically, along with passion and a free enjoyment of life.
The transmission of an awakened human being can be life transforming and life enhancing. It is like cosmic orange juice–a vitamin for the soul, water for the seed, nectar for a heart thirsty for joy, wholeness, well-being and fulfillment.
In his book, Healing the Spirit/Matter Split, spiritual awakener Saniel Bonder writes:
“As [students] lose more conceptual, belief-based faith in their old pursuits, the pilot light of their intrinsic being becomes more accessible to the catalytic heat of our transmission. With a sufficient exposure to that energy, Being itself is then able to initiate the awakening and trans-formative process within the individual. The results are no less profound than that of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.”
One of the major obstacles to personal and spiritual growth is an inability to admit that we need something outside of ourselves to truly activate and accelerate the process of self-realization. That something is hard to define and harder still to find. We can admit that we need family, friends, a spouse or boy/girlfriend. We can accept the help of a trained mental health counselor when our limited internal and external resources are not enough to meet the difficulties life hurls at us. Yet it usually takes a rare form of desperation to seek the help and wisdom of a spiritual teacher.
It is only when everything else fails to satisfy that we are ready to go beyond the boundaries of convention and delve into the realm of the Spirit.
This point of extreme desperation is the beginning. It may require a change from one teacher to another. The deep need for spiritual nourishment may begin with curiosity and deepen with time, perhaps lifetimes, until the time is right to dive deeply. You may audition innumerable teachers and philosophies until you walk into the right room. Once you walk through that door, however, it soon becomes clear that what you hear and feel are what you are looking for. The transmission and the words fit like a glove—perfect for your needs. In time, you won’t hear everything that you want to hear, but that is another stage of the process.
I am grateful to have found in bountiful measure the cosmic orange juice that my heart craves. May it be so for you.
Blessings on your journey.