As the weeks and months of no-employment passed, Joy viewed the crisis she was facing as a spiritual exercise – the opportunity to put her existential theories into practice. It wasn’t easy to remain focused and positive. She woke up some days feeling as if she had been forgotten by Life. Oftentimes, she didn’t know what to keep her mind concentrated on. If this day has meaning, what is it? If each second is precious then its value must come from something more than a career outcome. How should I approach these moments of no definite direction and solitude? How can I turn what feels like a waiting game into something more dynamic and rewarding?
Joy took the time to contemplate these questions deeply. She found an answer in the art of divine indifference, or as the Buddhists referred to it, abiding in the moment. This meant accepting her life circumstances without struggle or resistance: acknowledging the desire to see the situation change, knowing it would change when the process had run its course and, thereby, practising detached, positive expectancy.
Joy increased her meditation practice and included some breathing exercises. She knew that her respiration was affected by the stress she was feeling, depriving her body of essential oxygen. It was like she was scared to breathe in what Life was offering her. Practising divine indifference, she imagined she was breathing in radiant, life-sustaining energy – making her want to breathe in more deeply and fully – and breathing out fear and constricting thoughts.
Joy tried to see her experience as a gift that Life was offering her – the chance and time to get to know herself and her inner constitution. She did her best to remain peaceful, reading spiritual books, studying photography and contacting close friends and family. She put all her effort into transmuting any negativity she might be feeling as it was clear to her that negative emotions would do nothing to improve or change her situation. Fear and worry would only drain her of strength. What a relief it was to discover that she didn’t need those negative emotions any more.
Excerpt from “My Name is Joy”