Joy as a response to suffering

I struggled for years with feelings of guilt around being joyful. Although I’ve always felt tremendous gratitude for the life I’ve lived – all the interesting experiences I’ve had and the love I received firstly as a young child, then growing up, and now as an adult – I’ve often been caught in the trap of wondering how I can feel happy when so many children, men, women and animals in the world are suffering, mistreated and in pain. In addition, there’s all the damage inflicted on the plant and mineral kingdoms, often at the hands of ruthless human beings. I’ve come to the conclusion that precisely because of this painful reality it’s part of my life purpose to be joyful – in the sense that it’s not only my right to be filled with joy but rather also my goal. It’s my task to smile, to bring positive energy to my exchanges, to be centred and believe in Love – the Love that is the essence of each human being. Smiling, laughing, enjoying each and every moment is a great gift I can share with the world. As well as the immediate benefits it brings within interpersonal exchanges, I believe it can also create an energetic echo that reverberates through the transpersonal field. Because this transpersonal plane is where our collective human consciousness meets, the echo of my positive attitude can have an energising impact on other people. In the same way, if I’m morose, this weighty vibration can set off an energetic echo that has the potential to reinforce similarly negative reverberations on the transpersonal plane, which in turn can contribute in a detrimental way to our collective mood. In short, compassion doesn’t equate to depression. If one truly wishes to be compassionate, it’s important to feel the lightness, joy and innocence of our inner child, and to share that in as many ways as possible with others.

 Extract from “She Who Is Unto Herself”

23 thoughts on “Joy as a response to suffering

    • Thanks for your comment. I think joy (in fact, bliss) is our natural state because I resonate with the tantric view that divinity is immanent as well as transcendent. As such, as soon as we manage to turn off the “thought tap”, we are normally able to access feelings of wellbeing, joy, acceptance, etc. In contrast, whenever we are held captive to the judgements, expectations, etc. of our rational minds, a veil is drawn over our innate joy/bliss and the result is suffering. That is my perspective, at least. Joyful greetings, Sam 🙂

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    • Thanks so much for your comment, Brad. Holding the door open to our innate joy is a goal of many spiritual paths. Sometimes life’s challenges can make it more difficult for us to keep that door ajar. However, if the worldview we hold includes the concept that we are a manifestation of divinity then the reality is that joy/bliss is with us every second of every day, just sometimes it is clouded by our thoughts and emotions, which have become turbulent due to the difficult life circumstances we are facing. Joyful greetings, Sam 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Lily, for your very kind remarks and valuable perspectives on the importance of being the change we want to see and projecting that outwards to others. Love & blessings, Sam 🙂

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  1. Good discussion, Sam….

    This like trying to find a balance between Ayn Rand and Zen Buddhism 😉

    A difficulty factor is introduced into the personal spiritual effort process when there is an expectation of outcomes. Spirituality aside, we are conditioned to pursue and presume outcomes (careers, relationships, personal appearance).

    Spiritual effort is a complex playing field with a particular rule set. Personal “happiness” is subordinate to the state of the species. Hence, a sensation of complete satisfaction is elusive. The perceived happiness in some areas of our life is always being penetrated by a contrary energy that communicates otherwise. The Human Species is unbalanced and absent of peace. The energetics serve as the umbilical cord through which we sustain each other. As long as there is despair, anger, hate, and fear moving within the umbilical cord it is impossible for any individual to achieve happiness. One cannot fully attain peace or happiness until the Human Species evolves to a state of unconditional love for each other. The latter precedes the formers and not vice versa.

    When and individual transcends the “spirituality is about me” mindset an object of clarity will reveal. The purpose of the spiritual journey is the evolution of the species. The outcomes are not what we pursue, but instead, what we discover.

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    • Hey, thanks so much Rob for the really insightful comments and thought-provoking perspectives, which tie the consciousness of the individual man/woman to the collective human consciousness and see this intrinsic inter-relationship as the purpose of the physical-plane life experience.
      Btw: I had never heard of Ayn Rand, so I looked her up 😉
      Your feedback made me think of the differentiation made in Tantra between ananda (joy/bliss) and ordinary happiness (sukha). The latter tends to come and go in tune with our life circumstances; as such, given the temporary nature of life, what brings happiness (sukha) one minute, brings dissatisfaction (duhkha) the next. However, joy (ananda) does not depend on our temporal circumstances because it is our very (divine) nature. The “trick” is to tap into this ananda no matter what is going on in our lives i.e. in painful and confused times as well as during moments of happiness, sensory pleasure, etc.
      Joyful greetings
      Sam 🙂

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