As a young woman I regularly attended, and often led, bible study groups and prayer groups. We often used taped teachings from Christian leaders around the country. I remember one of the teachers explaining the difference between happiness and joy. It made sense to me then so I embraced the explanation as my own. It remains with me now, forty years later.
In my words: Joy is a state of being; Happiness is a response to current experience.
This morning it comes to mind that, since happiness is a response, I can create experiences that make me happy. I can do this with others by creating opportunities to have fun with people I love. When others are not available, I find happiness by myself in many ways. Walking to the library and taking the time to discover new authors makes me happy; I walk home with a smile on my face and anticipation of a new literary adventure. Stopping during a walk to watch squirrels or admire an owl sitting on a low branch sends me on my way grinning. I am happy in those moments.
As I thought about all of this it occurred to me that stringing as many happy moments together as possible is one of the paths that leads me to living in a state of joy. True Joy results from knowing mySelf and living from the Truth of my Soul. Knowing that I Know puts me in a very quiet, peaceful state of body, mind, and heart. It settles me into the Truth of Being and, for me, that is a place of pure joy that cannot be taken from me. I can forget my Truth for a moment but the instant I return to it I discover that sweet space within that is Joy Itself. At a time of deep emotional grief and pain, I found myself in tears, overwhelmed, screaming in agony. As I crumpled down to the floor I became aware of this deeply quiet pool within. I knew that, as I surrendered to the grief and pain and let it be expressed, it would begin to dissipate and I would once again rest in that place within where I know mySelf and where I abide in peace and joy.
May your journey be filled with happy times that lead you into the state of be-ing we call Joy and may you reside there. Namaste.