There are so many high quality inner resources that are ours to claim. It is easy to get tricked into believing they are found in the outer world. If we don’t find them there, we suffer unnecessarily, always looking in the wrong places for them.
Last year I had a painful experience of the perceived loss of a treasured life affirming state due to a sudden and devastating fallout with some family members.
The quality or state that seemed to have been so abruptly taken away from me was Joy. For a reasonably joyful person, you could be forgiven to think that life is pretty joyful. When there is no joy around anymore though, the experience of life changes.
For me, the lack of joy, the sudden absence of it, caused me to fall into a deep, bottomless, dark hole. Nothing mattered. The skies seemed grey even if they were as blue as almost any day in sunny Perth. The magical glow of life was gone. I grieved the loss of family that I loved and that were a huge part of my life. But the grief went deeper than that. I grieved the loss of Joy. I remember standing in my kitchen, looking down at the kitchen bench while my stomach was aching from the pain of it all. It was clear to me that without joy, life would be like a desert at night. Barren, scary and dark. And cold. And that was too much to bear.
That’s when it hit me – if I would not have any joy in life after what had happened, it would be because I had allowed someone to take it away from me or because I had believed it was gone from my life. And I realised that I would never let anyone be that powerful and I would never let myself believe such a lie. I claimed my precious joy there and then, aching stomach and all. And since then, even though the grief reminds itself often, my joy is intact and alive and kicking. I was so close to believe I had lost it.
When I thought of what Devi Living should imbue and stand for, I knew I was looking for qualities and states that were always and already ours. I wanted to focus on qualities that, if everyone decided to make them theirs, would make for a pretty darn great bunch of amazing people doing amazing things and living amazing lives on the planet. Just what we need in these times.
The qualities I felt would do just that are; Love, Purpose and Joy. Even if we temporarily lose sight of them, they are ours and ours to embrace and embody. Even if we are not able to always tap into them, the possibility to do so is always there.
Think about it. If our hearts are awakened to Love, the kind of love that sees no separation, is inclusive and kind and is conscious of the inter-beingness of life, we will not retaliate, condemn, separate, judge and destroy. We would care for ourselves, each other, for life and for the Earth. I am not talking about a sugar-and-spice-and-all-things-love-and-light kind of love here but of a deep and enduring kind of love that is to be found in full bounty in our hearts.
If we live from a deeper sense of Purpose that gets us up in the morning, that give us meaning and inspire us to live our best lives even with the many challenges that we face, life could be incredibly engaging and rich. It could be as simple and important as going up every day to be present to our loved ones. It could be a larger purpose that would empower us to keep going and contribute to a life that would benefit not only ourselves and those close to us but to each other, all life, and the Earth.
And Joy! A life lived in joy can make us almost invincible to life’s constant traps of misery and sorrows. I am not talking about a shallow happiness found in a new piece of clothing or an upcoming holiday but of a deep joy that permeates our being and wells up from within.
There is nothing wrong with not always feeling loving, on purpose and joyful. It’s more than understandable. Life happens and it’s not always a great experience. But if you think of the opposites of these qualities and you realise that you have a choice in how you want to live, what would you rather chose?
These times on the planet are unprecedented when it comes to challenges and suffering on a global scale. It is as if all of history has caught up with itself and it’s not a pretty sight. People everywhere are facing individual challenges and struggles. The whole planet is simultaneously facing challenges that can feel overwhelming. It can be a big ask to feel loving and find meaning. We might even feel guilty feeling joyful! Is it possible to choose how we live in the face of these challenges? You bet.
Are we of better value to ourselves, others, and the planet if we are firmly anchored in our hearts, to our purpose and our joy. Yes! Add a conscious intention to live like this and I believe we are a force to be reckoned with!
This has nothing to do with bypassing the reality of what is happening to us either individually or collectively.
Feel the pain, the grief, the fear. Cry all the tears that well up from inside, scream and yell if you need to. Talk to someone. Get help if you need support. And then, get still and be open to find the love, the meaning and the joy that is inside of you. I am not saying it is easy. But it is possible. Where would you rather be?