Joy cannot be compared to pleasure or happiness, since they depend on external circumstances and are ephemeral. Joy is at the heart of any search, and at the same time the clearest sign that a human being has reached the harmony to which philosophy, art or spiritual paractice made him aspire.
With The Doors of Joy: 19 Meditations for Authentic Living, Daniel Odier has discovered the trip-wire that keeps us from experiencing lasting joy and he gives us the tool kit that will bring it back into our lives for good.
It is possible to become completely conscious?
The multiplicity and speed of our unconscious processes is such that our consciousness would probably implode if we had that possibility.
Is it also possible to avoid being absent to such an extreme that we can spend hours and whole days on automatic pilot?
For our ultimate well-being and the blossoming of joy, certainly not. We can achieve a balance between these two extremities and, without getting tired or tense, we can slowly advance on the trerritory of unconsciousness.
Access to creativity
We can gain access to creativity by observing our daily routines. Why do we have the need to respond endlessly in the same manner to the same situations?
For instance, the habit of saying ‘no’ to anything that keeps us in our comfort zone. We are not risking anything by doing that since all the givens are known and under control. The ‘no’ is the guardian of our security and the guarantor of our ultimate boredom. It gives us the time to engage in our favourite occupation, the criticism and denigration of others, of their boldness, their errors and their follies.
On being conscious
The problem is not so much our inclination to repeat our actions, but the fact that we are not conscious of them. A habit of which we are conscious is on its way to disintegration.
We often worry that others programme us–our friends, lovers or superiors in the world of work. We gladly accuse them of making our lives difficult. If we look at this more closely, we will discover that we are almost the only ones imposing the control on ourselves, limiting the possibilities of change and creativity. In the final analysis, others only play with the limitations that we reveal to them through the frivolity of our actions.
Awareness and Freedom
The more joy establishes itself within, the more we will realise that it is inseparable from freedom. And the more aware we become and put an end to our defensive routines, the freer we will be.
Joy also increases our willigness to take risks and the desire to venture into unknown territory. The body immediately feels charged by a quiver of excitement giving the sensation that everything is functionaning at full efficacy.
The body emerges as a vibrating instrument our of a stagnant and dull mass. We follow a new path without being disturbed by the beacons of warning posed by those who fear reality. We clear the unknown as if with a machete and even the wild beasts look at us with amazement. One who knows joy will not cease the exploration of the Real.
Taking risks and its consequences
- Do you believe that you are taking risks in the professional, emotional or physical aspects of your life?
- Are you ready to call your ways of thinking and doing things into question if someone shows you a better way?
- How would you welcome the change? In your emotional life? In your relationships?
- Do you leave enough space for others so that they can modify their vision of things, their way of acting or thinking?
- When you are about to engage in a new behavior, does your mind present you with negative prospects about this change? Or is it silent and allows you to enter immediately into action?
- Do you expect that others will behave in the way that you hoped or imagined?
- Would you say that your approach to life is creative, that is pushes you to invent and allow others to surprise you?