Advent (Joy): En-joy

Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”

William James

How small can you make any particular experience of joy?  I know that may seem  like an unusual question.  We tend to see “joy” as something large and thrilling. Our capitalist society thrives on one thrilling opportunity after another.  We watch television shows of the reality kind and of the fiction kind which exploit thrilling experiences, and we think that we have seen joy in these images.

I think that joy is much smaller, much closer to home than any of these images allow. I also believe that some of the best gifts come in small packages.  Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, asks in one of his talks:  Have you ever experienced the joy of “no toothache?”  He goes on to explain that we all know the pain of a toothache.  We know how we suffer from a toothache.  We know how motivated we are to get relief from a toothache.  He then observes how slow, how seldom we are to notice, to enjoy, to rejoice in “no toothache.”

See how small that is?  How inexpensive?  How common?  How ordinary?  I wonder about things even smaller:  our next breath, the color of the sky, the touch of a friend’s hand as we clasp in greeting, the smell of a cup of coffee.  These are real, present moments of things that we enjoy.  Enjoy–to enter into a moment of joy.

Remember the twinkling lights that Rev. Jan wrote about yesterday?  Each of those twinkling lights represents a moment of joy:  all ours, all around us today. Notice.  Enter joy.  En-joy.

Bob Patrick

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