You were born to experience joy; it wasn’t something you had to learn. You need only to observe children playing to remember the small delights that life offered from chasing butterflies to lighting up at the sight of ice cream. That is true joy—the freedom to be who you truly are and feeling at peace. Not worrying about the past or future, just being in the moment and relishing life, both the good and challenging. Joy is one of your core experiences in life, so why does it seem to elude you at times?
From children to adulthood you experience layers of conditioning that create limits and restrictions, influencing your choices. It’s hard to avoid. The “true self’ is the part of you that feels a discomfort when making a choice that doesn’t feel right. Over time, your inner light (your joy) diminishes each time you push down emotions or feelings that want to be expressed but are ignored. Some are more adept at expressing and processing the emotional spectrum of life more easily than others. Know that this could be you as well and use this as inspiration for what’s possible.
With anything worth having, there needs to be a bit of effort on your part. The path to joy is a discovery of your true self or a return to wholeness, so to speak. On this path, no matter what your purpose is for even starting, you begin to heal and unify all aspects of yourself to create harmony and balance. As the layers of conditioning are shed a natural state of bliss is experienced, and what you thought was lost is experienced again.
If you want to cultivate more joy in your life one of the most valuable lessons you can learn is to stop searching outside of yourself and go to the stillness within.
The Theory of Meditation
Meditation allows you to experience yourself more deeply by learning to tune out the chatter of the external world. You are constantly inundated by stimuli in different forms. While you may be grateful for the gifts of the modern world, they have made it increasingly difficult to access the innate wisdom within you. The more you can tap into the stillness within, even if it’s just a few minutes, the more you can shift from the limitations of your beliefs into a more expanded sense of self. From this state of being you are able to experience more creativity, intuition, forgiveness, compassion, and peace of mind.
With every meditation you deepen your relationship with yourself and develop an understanding of who you are and what you want. You begin to see the world differently and, in turn, the world responds to you differently. A cleansing process sometimes takes place where old emotions are released that may have been stored for years within the mind and body. In this case, it helps to find a professional to help process everything that comes up. You may have been taught to take on the world and but not how to release it if it doesn’t serve you.
Meditation bring you to a state of grace and acceptance of daily living despite any sufferings. The following is a passage from the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
And it is from this place, when your heart is open and when you least expect it, you will experience joy.
Your Inner Compass
Think back to the last time you felt lighthearted, playful, and free. It could have been yesterday, last week or perhaps years. Your life story is uniquely plotted with twists and turns and you turn outside of yourself for comparison, guidance, or confirmation. What you don’t realize is the guidance you seek is within you, and joy is your compass.
True joy, because it is an inherent quality, is the nature of who you are. When you live in accordance with who you are (which is explored through meditation), joy begins to permeate into every aspect of your life. Jobs, relationships, family, community, and more are affected by your inner joy being expressed. True joy doesn’t have to have a reason because it’s woven into the tapestry of who you are; it cannot be taken away.
Joy is a state of being, an eternal flame lit deep within you where that inner “knowingness” resides. It has never left you. Joy is described by author and motivational speaker Danielle La Porte as the “fibre of your Soul,” thus access to it will never be beyond your reach. Even when you lose your way, it’s there, ever abiding, waiting for your return, a beacon in the dark to help guide you back “home.”
How Meditation Cultivates Joy
To inspire you even further, here are some ways meditation can lead to more joy in your life. Meditation:
- Helps you become more compassionate.
- Encourages a natural state of ease.
- Enables you to have more gratitude.
- Gives you more energy to accomplish goals.
- Helps you to feel safe and secure within yourself and grants you the freedom to express your true nature.
- Lets you worry less.
- Allows obstacles to be seen as opportunities in disguise.
- Allows you to be more loving.
- Guides you to be the co-creator of your life.
Meditation guides you within to explore your inner world, which is where joy can be accessed and brought into your outer world. Every time you meditate you enfold yourself into the essence of who you are like a blanket, even if it’s for just a split second. The more you can do this, the better you get to know a part of yourself you have forgotten.
This work can be uncomfortable, but the payoff is worth it. It may have seemed joy eludes you, but it has always been there. Life is hard and with every challenge you must learn and move forward. Start with gratitude for the blessings in your life, even if it’s for your heart that beats. Walk with love in your heart and the knowledge that it’s possible to experience joy because it’s already a part of who you are. It’s your birthright.
Jump start your meditation practice with 21 days of simple, transformative meditations in Energize Your Life: Secrets for a Youthful Spirit, Deepak’s free online meditation program starting October 29. Register for free.