These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. - Jesus – John 15:11
What Jesus, Buddha and other enlightened masters knew and taught, is that it is entirely possible to experience well-being regardless of life’s circumstances. For most of us, who tend to equate happiness with outer conditions, such a teaching seems untenable. Because it’s our natural tendency to look out at life situations prior to deciding how we feel inside, the notion that we could feel good despite the presence of unwanted stuff, seems out of reach.
However, the good news is that the capacity for well-being is not out of reach, but only beneath the radar of our ordinary awareness. Like many spiritual potentials, unconditional joy lies deep but is nonetheless accessible if we intentionally cultivate it. It does take intention. As much as we might want it to arise in us as readily as do our fears and doubts which need no coaxing, our capacity to muster equanimity is not so instinctual.
There are sound evolutionary reasons that explain the latency of the peaceful response, versus the hair-trigger readiness to fear, worry and “oh my!” Too much to cover in this article, but suffice to say we’ve developed the capacity to protect ourselves from harm way better than we have developed our capacity to know the peace and happiness of inner being. Though I feel the weight of this imbalance, I realize it is not a limitation to despair because my wholeness and wellbeing is worth cultivating, at whatever cost. As noted by the French author and philosopher, André Gide, "Know that joy is rarer, more difficult, and more beautiful than sadness. Once you make this all-important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation."
This “moral obligation” is no external mandate, no “should” from outside of us. Rather it is a responsibility to traverse the divide between your current state of awareness and the realm of the possible. This is the inward call to discover, uncover and reveal the depths of our true nature so that we might discover the eye in the storm, and reside there as often as possible.
When we look at the life of Jesus, we see that it was his resolute awareness of his connection to Source, that he called Father, that allowed for such consistent, enlightened responses to all that he faced. It was this complete recognition of his Oneness with Infinite Life and Love that allowed him to “be of good cheer” regardless of the trial and tribulations, he faced. He said to us, “Be of good cheer,” for there is an overcoming power at hand.
Whatever may be our measure of the ingredients and conditions for a happy holiday season or a Merry Christmas, let us not forget that happiness is an inside job. It always has been. The gift you must open to make this a reality is your very own heart. You will find joy inside. Enough for you, and plenty to share.
Peace and blessings,