What is Joy? For most of my life I considered Joy to be something like super-happiness. Happiness+++ However, in the last few years, I started to feel the difference between the two. In a recent Chakra Puncture detox program (see my June Blog), I was specifically asking to clear whatever was in the way of experiencing Joy. It triggered a philosophical contemplation on the difference between happiness and Joy.
Happiness feels like an emotion.
Joy feels like a state of being.
Happiness feels short lived to me. It comes, it goes. The well-worn phrase “have a happy birthday” springs immediately to mind. It’s one day out of the year spent in celebration (unless something disappoints us) - and perhaps only a few hours of that day. That represents happiness. It ends.
Joy, on the other hand, feels like a way to experience life. Not in a cloud of denial, not from a place of “it’s all good” because clearly it is not all good out there in the world. Rather, Joy comes from a position within a paradigm where, in spite of all that is wrong in the world, it is still possible to see the innate goodness in humanity (see the innate goodness in ourselves) and to see the natural beauty of the universe.
Thinking about what happiness looks like, I automatically picture someone with a smile. Surely anyone who is happy is smiling and occasionally laughing. Happiness feels like it comes to us, it is given or delivered. It comes wrapped up in something, a present, a person, a particular situation.
Whereas, thinking about what Joy looks like, I picture someone emanating radiance. Joy often shows up as a sparkle in the eyes. Joy feels more like a settlement in the body, it is a way of being. Joy is something that pulls me, magically, into a deep appreciation. There is an inkling of reverence.
One of the main elements of Joy that has made it clear to me that it is different from happiness is that there is NO anxiousness. Even in happiness, there is an element of anxiety – perhaps knowing that the happy feeling isn’t going to last.
Joy is in our DNA. Joy is built into our essence. The reason we aren’t experiencing the Joy on a daily basis is because of all the layers of mud we have packed on top of it throughout our struggle with life.
Can you feel the difference between happiness and Joy? Try to feel it in your body, not your mind. Experiment. What brings up that feeling of deep appreciation? It changes from moment to moment but with practice those moments become a continuous flow.
Certain music can uplift. The type of music that brings me Joy is when the lyrics have meaning (and the melody is easy to sing along with.) Not lyrics that ‘try’ to make me happy and definitely not lyrics where the girlfriend walked out, the boyfriend is a jerk, the dog died etc but rather music that shines like a guiding light straight into our heart helping us dance our way in purpose.
Winds whip ‘round the branches of the tallest tree
Trying to take me down but I’m still on my feet
Saw that storm a’coming, didn’t run or hide
Met it face to face, came out the other side
But I have learned my lessons now it’s time to start again
And I’ll keep on letting go and singing through the rain
Whatever storms may come I am strong enough
To meet them with the love in my heart
Just like the Mighty Oak in the winds that blow
Standing solid on its path
We too can be this way
We too can be this way
Now the darkness has subsided I see the light
Step out from the shadows to claim back my life
I’m here at the beginning where there is no end
Been blessed by the cycles here we go again
Cause we keep on coming back like Winter turns to Spring
No seeking outside of us, we’re already everything
Lyrics by Robbie Boyd and Deborah Savran. For extra Joy here is the YouTube link to Robbie performing The Mighty Oak.
Gayle Cue loves writing about life, reflecting on every day miracles and pondering on the big picture.
Subscribe to receive latest blogs and updates.