Sourcing your joy is the real task — isn’t it?
We have some simple ideas about sourcing your joy, and the people we talk to seem to like our approach. Sadly, they have such a tough time applying it to their own lives.
Going in, we want you to understand that the problems you’ll see in this area, the questions you’ll raise and the obstacles you’ll encounter are ALL of your own creation, one way or another. It’s this truth that often makes the simplest paths to peace seem difficult to those who are searching.
Sourcing your joy really is the heart of the matter.
There are some key principles you’ll need to accept if you really want to find the true source of your own joy.
1. True joy flows from an internal wellspring, rather than from external sources. The joy one takes in external things is real, certainly. The richness and duration of it depend on the deeper, timeless joy you draw continuously from that internal flow.
2. External sources and factors may alter the level or nature of the joy you experience daily, to the extent that you allow them to do so. This is natural, as long as you’re in charge.
3. External factors can never completely cut off the flow of your joy — unless you allow them to do so.
4. True joy is mostly proactive, rather than mostly reactive.
5. True joy is highly subjective. Part of the task of sourcing your joy lies in learning to engage in honest and fearless self-exploration from a state of intentional clarity. It also involves challenging your most closely held beliefs and assumptions about right and wrong, good and bad, risk and reward, and your ultimate purpose while you’re still above ground.
Only you can discover the nature of your ongoing joy.
If you’re unhappy most of the time, there’s a good chance it’s because you’ve been looking in the wrong place, or have been sold a bill of goods about what you’re supposed to want and expect for yourself. It’s changing those beliefs and expectations that makes the process so difficult.
6. In sourcing your joy, you MUST remember something: nobody — not your family, not your friends, not your employer, and certainly not the clergy, the media or the government — is entitled to pressure you into accepting their beliefs and definitions. Having you follow, instead of empowering you to choose your own path, validates their individual or collective egos. It has little to do with your true joy or your personal needs and wishes.
Why else would they tell you that sacrifice and conformity on your part are hallmarks of spiritual growth?
Sorry to say it, folks, but that’s pure, grade-A, government approved and inspected, unadulterated, self-serving BS. The beliefs you hold most dear will lead you to the spiritual rewards they promise ONLY if you adopted them willingly, thoughtfully and intentionally, with proper and full understanding. Otherwise, you’ve merely been brainwashed into them, and it doesn’t matter how noble or spiritual they may sound when you speak them aloud. In that case, you have no way of knowing whether they speak to your deepest spiritual needs and dreams because you’ve never had the chance to turn your mind to such questions without bias or prejudgment.
7. The true nature of your joy, whatever it looks like, will be such that you get to experience it in every moment and with every breath you take. Since it’s fueled from within you, nobody can take it from you, alter it or force you to abandon it unless you allow them that degree of control over you. We don’t recommend that, even if those around you become angry or bitter about your definition or your choices.
After all, that’s their problem, not yours.
Think about it. If you believe yourself to be a happy person by nature and practice, how can external factors do more than interfere briefly and temporarily with the internal flow of your happiness?
Answer: they can’t.
Your daily experience of joy CANNOT be cut off by business setbacks, the misbehavior of your children, the rudeness of strangers, the needs of others for ego validation, the political antics of governmental officials, or even illness. None of those things attacks the source of your joy, unless you yourself allow that to happen.
Are we getting the sense of a recurring theme here?
YOU are in control of the internal flow of your own joy, as soon as you recognize and define it.
YOU are entitled to revoke any permission you’ve granted to others to dictate your beliefs, personal behavior and courses of action.
YOU are never obliged to validate the joy, egos or desires of others by sacrificing your own.
Begin by reconsidering, in order of their importance to you, all those beliefs and assumptions you’ve held close about your life, its purpose, your spirituality, your faith, your relationships, your expectations and your entitlement to happiness.
Be prepared for resistance from those whose own status quo will be affected by changes you choose to make. Be prepared to pay the price for a degree of non-conformity in choosing your own courses of personal and spiritual action.
Be brutally honest with yourself about your needs, your goals and your deepest wishes and desires — and be prepared for the task of rebuilding your inner dialogue in order to speak with yourself clearly and accurately in determining who you really are and what you really want.
We think that’s probably enough for today.
Oh — by the way: if that last point about being brutally honest, etc., didn’t raise some pointed questions about how you should go about rebuilding what we call your “inner dialogue,” you weren’t paying attention….