Turning Joy Into Real Happiness
“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.”
Don Miguel Ruiz
Do you believe you are a happy person? Do you cultivate any type of joy whatsoever in your everyday life? Let me show you how to turn the simple act of joy into a lifetime of lasting happiness.
Throughout the ages, man has tried unsuccessfully to turn the joy he feels at any given moment into happiness that lasts a lifetime. As hard as he has tried, he has never quite put all the pieces together to enjoy the happiness that surrounds him.
Why is that and how can we fix it?
Before we can turn joy into lasting happiness we need to understand the distinction between joy and happiness and why they are so important in our life.
The days of instant gratification are long gone. The world has evolved despite the selfishness that pervades our culture. Even though most people look for joy, they can’t seem to find it or even when they do it doesn’t last long enough to appreciate.
This is understandable given the fact that we all lead complicated lives but that is the problem. We complicate our lives so much we can’t seem to witness the beauty all round our eyes and ears. Our hearts have grown cold with the bitterness of envy and disrespect for our fellow man.
Finding Lasting Happiness In Life
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Do you want lasting happiness? Learn to take the energy you use in negative thinking and negative actions and put them to better use. Find things in your life that bring pleasure and put them in the forefront of your life.
Examples of this can be found in how we treat others for it always comes back to us how we treat others especially when we want to be friends with someone. Happiness comes in the relationships we have with others. Unfortunately, too many people don’t live by the golden rule of treating others as we would have them treat us.
The idea of feeling joy occurs frequently in the bible. Joy comes even amidst the suffering of day-to-day life. Joy is associated with the Holy Spirit. We see this in 1 Thessalonians 1:6, “For you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” as well as in Acts 13:52, when we read , “The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
No matter what happened, the disciples lived with joy in their heart. Even amidst the suffering that Christians experienced at the hands of the Romans in the first century, their love of Christ brought extreme joy to their hearts and souls.
To nail this point home even further, we find this in Psalm 5:11; “All who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy” and in Psalm 35:27; “Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore.”
Now that we see what part joy plays in our life,it is much easier to find a way to lasting happiness.
The Pathway To Happiness
“If we can just let go and trust that things will work out they way they’re supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself.”
All roads lead to Christ and whether you believe or not, the joy in your heart comes from one source and that is Jesus Christ. Our hopes and dreams rely on our faith in God yet people work way too hard looking for and experiencing happiness that is fleeting.
Each one of us is a sinner and the more we sin, the guiltier we feel inside. We try to cover it up by looking for things that make us happy but they don’t fill our hearts with joy. Something’s missing that can’t be filled by what’s on earth. This is why we look towards heaven for our joy.
In their book entitled, “The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” by the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu, we read some very inspiring and beautiful quotes about joy and happiness.
“We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy. It simply depends on the attitudes, the perspectives, and the reactions we bring to situations and to our relationships with other people. When it comes to personal happiness there is a lot that we as individuals can do.” ― Dalai Lama
To bring joy is what we were created for by the Lord. Joy is love and the more we give love the more we will receive it in the end.
“What the Dalai Lama and I are offering,” the Archbishop added, “is a way of handling your worries: thinking about others. You can think about others who are in a similar situation or perhaps even in a worse situation, but who have survived, even thrived. It does help quite a lot to see yourself as part of a greater whole.” Once again, the path of joy was connection and the path of sorrow was separation. When we see others as separate, they become a threat. When we see others as part of us, as connected, as interdependent, then there is no challenge we cannot face—together.” ― Desmond Tutu
The greater whole is where the path of lasting happiness starts. It does not comes from the selfish thrusts in life but our gentle offering to the souls of others.
“In fact, taking care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life.” ― Dalai Lama
We discover pure joy in others. They bring out our true love and care and that is what happiness is all about.
Another way we find lasting happiness is through self-realization. Paramahansa Yogananda, the celebrated 20th century Indian yogi and guru who taught the benefits of meditation and Kriya Yoga, was a big proponent of the thought process.
He taught that you should “Change your thoughts if you wish to change your circumstances. Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them. You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature. Remember that the law works at all times and that you are always demonstrating according to the kind of thoughts you habitually entertain. Therefore, start now to think only those thoughts that will bring you health and happiness.”
The majority of people walk around in a fog each day drowning themselves in negative thought. The negative vibrations bring on a myriad of diseases both physical and mental that cause us unhappiness.
The way we think determines what happens in our life and when we choose (keyword here) to make a positive change in our lives, our actions follow our thoughts. But to turn joy into lasting happiness, you must take the next step in the evolution of your life.
Experiencing Empathetic Joy
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen
According to Christina McMahon, from her article entitled, “Cultivating Empathetic Joy: Ancient Buddhist Wisdom for Creating Lasting Happiness” she writes, “Empathetic joy is the third of the Four Immeasurables from Buddhism, which also encompass loving-kindness, compassion, and equanimity. These are positive qualities we can nurture through meditation and our intentional practice of them in everyday life. While empathetic joy, or mudita, is typically defined as delight in others’ happiness or good fortune, it can also mean celebrating the virtues of others.”
Do you feel like every day is like the movie Groundhog Day? The same old circumstances with the same old results? Christina makes this observation and puts it all into perspective when she writes, “Rather than greeting every day with a weary expectation of sameness, we open our eyes wider and see opportunity.”
Life is full of opportunities to be free and happy but we lock ourselves up in a prison of our own making. Whether it’s excuses why we cannot do things or letting others rule our happiness to the choices we make, we always have the chance to choose lasting happiness.
It is up to you to become more aware of what is happening around you and cognizant of the way you react to them. Then, start to simplify your life. The more complicated you make it the harder it is to juggle everything going on around you.
It’s all about building character and living a humble life. The author Henry David Thoreau wrote about this in 19th century when he commented, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen.”
Finally, do you have a purpose in your life? Are you going from point A to point B? Or are you all over the place? Those that have a real purpose to their life are happier and more committed to a deeper sense of meaning with their life.
Let me leave you with this quote from Psalm 21:6-7; “Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.”
Happiness is there for you to take. It doesn’t rely on what others think, say, or do. Lasting happiness is God’s gift to you. You have to reach out and take it and then live it to the fullest. Don’t waste time looking for it in all the wrong places.
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