Following previous newsletter articles in which I examined how we can find happiness in our lives, last month, I argued that joy and happiness are related but very different emotional states. However, opinions as to how to find joy exactly mirror the same causes as those leading to happiness. As a brief review, there were eight factors I discussed as leading to happiness:
• Discovering Your Purpose in Life
• Serving Others
• Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
• Living in the Present Moment
• Detaching from Things That Make You Unhappy and Detachment from Happiness Itself
• Trusting That All is Well
• Growing in every aspect of your life, especially spiritual growth
The format for this series of articles has been to state the point and then to follow that point with several quotations from well-known people who generally said it much better than I did. Believe me, I found MANY excellent quotations regarding joy for each of the factors listed above, and it was very tempting to continue the format with this month’s article. However, it would have been much too long unless I broke it into two articles as I did before with finding happiness, and that would be just too boring – especially since last month I questioned whether many sources of great quotes really understood the difference between happiness and joy. And as I have said repeatedly, happiness and joy are intimately related. As I said last month, “Happiness is a guidepost on the road to joy.” So what is it that really differentiates them? Well, if you have been reading and paying attention over the past several months, there was an additional factor I talked about regarding happiness that is not in the list above. It is:
• Finding Harmony with Your Higher Self
Why make such a big deal about this? The answer is simple: Finding Harmony with Your Higher Self is absolutely essential to attaining true joy. Each of the other seven factors is much easier to attain and is far more likely to be achieved if we first strive to fulfill the requirement of this factor. Expressed somewhat differently:
• “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” ~ Bible, Matthew 6:33
And just what is “the kingdom of God”? As I noted last month, it is a “a connection to what matters” as Oprah Winfrey expressed it. Call it “God”, “What Matters”, “Source”, “All That Is”, “Who You Really Are”. “Higher Self” – or whatever name you choose, it is all the same, and your experience of true Joy absolutely depends on your connection to it. So why do I believe this? First, I was taught this by a number of my best teachers, and second, it has been my personal experience. For your own consideration, let me introduce you to this concept of
Finding Harmony with Your Higher Self:
• “Ever-new Joy is God.” ~ Sri Yukteswar (1855–1936; guru of Paramhansa Yogananda)
• “God is contacted in meditation as Light, Sound, and Joy.” ~ Paramhansa Yogananda (1893–1952; Indian yogi and guru who introduced many westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi)
Yogananda taught this concept as “Self-Realization” – understanding and personally experiencing this joy. He wrote a poem called “Samadhi” (in Chapter 14 of Autobiography of a Yogi) that describes the nature of this experience. Samadhi is the Sanskrit term for the highest stage of meditation, a state of one-pointedness of mind in which a person experiences oneness with the Universe while being totally aware of the present moment. Yogananda also wrote a chant for his followers which speaks of this connectedness and which is one of their favorites:
• “From Joy I came, for Joy I live, in sacred Joy I melt again!”
My teacher, Maitreya (channeled by Margaret McElroy), speaks of happiness and joy separately and is very clear on the subject of raising our vibration in order to experience joy in our lives:
• “You were born to experience a life with happiness, joy, success, and abundance.” ~ Maitreya (Newsletter #69, March 15, 2003)
• “Face your fears and take the happiness and joy you deserve and which is yours by right.” ~ Maitreya (Newsletter #161, September 3, 2005)
Another teacher for whom I have great respect is Abraham (channeled by Esther Hicks). The message is the same, just the manner of expression, terminology, and phrasing is a little different:
• “You are joy, looking for a way to express. It’s not just that your purpose is joy, it is that you are joy. You are love and joy and freedom and clarity expressing. Energy – frolicking and eager – that’s who you are. And so, if you’re always reaching for alignment with that [Higher Self], you’re always on your path, and your path will take you into all kinds of places. We will not deny that you will not discover miracles and create benefits and be involved in creation, and that you will not uplift humanity – we will not say that you will not find satisfaction in so many things that you create, but we can’t get away from the acknowledgment that you are Pure Positive Energy that translates into the human emotion of joy.” ~ Abraham (excerpted from the workshop in Boca Raton, FL, December 13th, 2003)
• “If we were talking to you on your first day here we would say, ‘Welcome to planet Earth. There is nothing that you cannot be or do or have. And your work here – your lifetime career – is to seek joy.
As you think thoughts that feel good to you, you will be in harmony with who-you-really-are. And in doing so you will utilize your profound freedom. Seek joy first, and all of the growth that you could ever imagine will come joyously and abundantly unto you.” ~ Abraham (excerpted from the book Money and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Health, Wealth and Happiness)
• “You must first find harmony between you and You [your Higher Self], and then, and only then, is any other harmony possible. And when you consistently achieve harmony between you and You (which is what we refer to as the state of allowing), then it is possible to find harmony with others, even though you have disagreements. In fact, that is the perfect environment for expansion and joy: diversity of beliefs and desires – but alignment with Source.” ~ Abraham (excerpted from The Vortex, Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships, p. 39)
And finally, a few words from Dr. Edward Bach (1886–1936; British physician, surgeon, homeopath, & spiritual writer, best known for developing the Bach Flower Remedies) on the subject of Finding Harmony with Your Higher Self:
• “So long as our Souls [Higher Self] and personalities are in harmony all is joy and peace, happiness and health. It is when our personalities are led astray from the path laid down by the Soul, either by our own worldly desires or by the persuasion of others [conditioning], that a conflict arises. This conflict is the root cause of disease and unhappiness.” ~ Dr. Edward Bach (Heal Thyself, 1931)
So how can we find Joy in our lives? The answer to this question is both simple and complex. The simple answer is to raise your vibration. The complexity of how to accomplish this has been discussed repeatedly in these newsletters since they began, and every writer has addressed them on multiple occasions.
What these writers have said sounds easy enough, but each one of them has also expressed how difficult it is to attain. How can one be certain that what they have said is the most effective and efficient way to raise your vibration? And what strategy really is the most effective and efficient way to do so? The answer is really very straightforward and it’s all in the numbers.
Stay tuned next month for a few thoughts on that subject, and I hope that by this time next month you will have no doubt. Until then, remember that happiness is a guidepost on the road to joy, and that the experience of true joy is your birthright. YOU ARE JOY! Get used to this idea and how it feels. And then revel in it!