Week 8, Day 6 – Happiness

The choices for today were:

1.      Write how you would literally put something together – a cake, a dress. Now take this process and do the same for spiritual process and the journey to happiness.

2.      Choose a person who seems happy to you and describe him or her by using your senses. What do your senses know that you probably couldn’t prove? How could you be more like this person?

3.      Sort through a group of magazines at home or in a bookstore and write down the article titles on the covers, such as “The Guide to the flames,” “Prophets of Boom,” or “Activists Making Peace.” choose an article name and write your own article describing how happiness was entered. How does this relate to your life and spiritual search?

4.      Write down times of happiness. Write down things that make you happy. Decide when next to do some of these things.

I have always found these magazine one challenging as I rarely, if ever, have any around the house, but this time I did. Well a few copies of the same magazine. Therefore, here were the article titles on the covers Your total health plan. Stress free simplicity, instant calm, and charge up your health. Then I found one from a different magazine that said pasta pasta pasta. So if I were to choose one article name and write an article about it, I would probably call it either your total happiness plan or happy happy happy! But for whatever reason I am not really feeling either of those titles. And I am not sure I am comfortable saying somebody seems happy. Some people in my life seem happy, but you get them behind closed doors and you find out they are not and are miserable. It’s as if they have this happy make up on. And I am not sure I like the idea of constructed happiness. Not sure I feel as if I can describe happiness by saying well first you do x, then y, then z and then poof you have a batch of happiness.

There was a book I remember reading a few years book by James A Kitchens, it was called Talking to Ducks. He says there are two major kinds of joy:  internal joy and external joy.

Internal joy comes from within. It is the kind of joy that allows one to jump from the hot spring to the cold stream without hesitation. It is the kind of joy, which enables one to be in love with life. It is the kind of joy that just is. External joy is related to whatever is happening in our environment. It comes and it goes. When things are going the way we want them to in our lives, we may experience joy. And when they don’t, joy leaves. When I thought my son was coming up for the holidays one year, I experienced joy. When I learned he would no longer be coming, the feeling of joy associated with him coming left. 

Internal joy cannot be found in any commercial or advertisement. It will not be found in things. It won’t be found in any single accomplishment I make, or even in being with Zoë. They might bring me external joy, but not internal joy. 

Sometimes I think we confuse happiness with joy, but happiness is not joy. Happiness depends on the experience. Happiness depends on what happens, Happiness is really a kind of happenness and it comes from what is happening outside of us. Joy comes from within; joy is internal. If you put your trust in happiness, then you are going to be a victim of circumstances, because your happenstance will change. While happiness meets surface needs, joy meets your deepest needs.

Internal joy is a divine gift that does not leave us during illness, grief, oppression, or persecution. It does not depend on the circumstances of our lives, or even on our momentary feelings. The joy that lasts, that is not externally dependent, that is not dependent on the absence of sorrow, and pain, the joy that lasts is rooted, grounded, and cemented in the experience with Creator.