My personal journey to find joy started a few years back. It started when I realized that, throughout my life, I have been- and still is and hopefully will always remain- grateful and content. But, I can’t say that I was really joyful. I realized that joy is different from mere content and gratitude. It is also different from happiness. But, what is it? And how to attain it?
Brené Brown, in her book Atlas of the Heart, states that “happiness is stable, longer lasting, and normally the result of effort. It’s Low in intensity than joy, and more self-focused.” She writes that, for the ancient Greeks, happiness was a word that described “the freedom of the rich from normal cares and worries”. Joy is something else, she asserts, it is "sudden, unexpected, short-lasting, and high-intensity. It’s characterized by a connection with others, or with God, nature, or the universe. Joy expands our thinking and attention, and it fills us with a sense of freedom and abandon.” And, according to the ancient Greeks, “its opposite is not sadness, but fear.”
So, the opposite of joy is fear… This made so much sense.
Here a mini lesson about fear, I recorded a few years back and I still find relevant:
“No one knows what makes the soul wake up so happy!
Maybe a dawn breeze has blown the veil
from the face of God.
A thousand new moons appear.
Roses open laughing.
Hearts become perfect rubies.
The body turns entirely spirit.
Leaves become branches in the wind.
Why is it now so easy to surrender,
Even for those already surrendered?
There’s no answer to any of this.
No one knows the source of joy.
A poet breathes into a reed flute,
And the tip of every hair makes music."