“Go To The Hyatt…Talk To Samuel”: Journey of Fulfillment 2.0 – Day 24

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Our Self wills only to extend itself. Extending, sharing, and creating as Divine Love, through Divine Mind, is our sole purpose. Our Self knows its fullness in Divine Love and wills only to liberate us to fulfill our purpose and release our Joy.

 

Sharing

Yesterday, I introduced you to Samuel, the Hyatt employee who was amazing. There was much more to the conversation than I mentioned yesterday. I asked him a LOT of questions about his “amazing”.  He said he feels amazing because he’s a people person; he just loves talking with people, so he feels amazing.

So I asked, “But you said you wake up feeling amazing, so do you bring it to your work, or do you get it when you’re here, talking to people?”

He was pretty sure that he wakes up feeling amazing and brings it to work with him. So I asked, “Do you cultivate it? Do you do something to be amazing?”  He said, “This is who I am, I’ve always been like this.”

I asked, “Do you have a personal philosophy? Is this something that you are very aware of within yourself?” He said, “Yes, I definitely have this as a personal philosophy, and I’m aware of it as who I am.

Cool.

So I asked, “Have you thought about teaching it? Sharing it with other people?”

He said, “Yes, but I don’t really know how or what to do.”

I said, “I see you on stage with a microphone and a power point presentation telling an audience how they can be awesome and inspire others.” He said, “Yeah?” I said, “Yeah. It would be work, but I can see it. You need a venue and a platform.” So we talked a bit about venue and platform.

Apparently, he already has a venue and a platform—he just didn’t realize it. People tell their friends about him. They say, “Go to the Hyatt…talk to Samuel.” The friends come and seek him out; they tell him their friends sent them…he said that has happened dozens of times.

And I’m telling you, he is amazing and worth seeking out.

At the end of the conversation (I had been working on an article for this website), I showed him the site and introduced myself as Susanwithpearls. I told him that what I do naturally, as who I am, is to support and encourage people’s journeys of self-discovery; he and I were there, totally doing and being who we are naturally, together, at the same time, with each other.

Now, that was amazing.

I thought, wouldn’t it be “amazing” if this were how the world worked? Wouldn’t it be an amazing life if we could all just go around being who we are naturally with each other, on this beautiful journey of self-discovery?

Do you, maybe, by chance, see how all of that fits with today’s Guiding Thought?

Our Self wills only to extend itself. Being who you are naturally is YOU, sharing yourself, extending your Self.

Extending, sharing, and creating as Divine Love, through Divine Mind, is our sole purpose. How do we know that extending and sharing the Love we are is our sole purpose? Because it feels amazing; you meet amazing people; there is energy and love and appreciation and synchronicity—you know it’s right.

Our Self knows its fullness in Divine Love and wills only to liberate us to fulfill our purpose and release our Joy. There is freedom and Joy to being the Love you are, being who you are naturally. The freedom and Joy make us want more—more love, more joy, more freedom. How do we get that? By sharing and extending ourselves.

“They And I Are We And Me”: Journey of Fulfillment 2.0 – Day 23

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

What is fulfillment but knowing our Self as an expression of Divine Love? Our Self wills to create! Our Self wills to share! Our Self wills to extend itself! Our fulfillment is creation; our joy is sharing; our peace is extension.

 

Sharing

Over the past 48 hours, I have met some amazing people. My trip to Chicago started with observing the beautiful interaction at the train station.  And that energy seemed to continue throughout my entire trip. I was blessed by so many people:

Victor: the guy who dropped his baggage claim ticket, which I chased down to make sure he had it—he gave me such a beautiful, appreciative smile.

My cab driver to the hotel: an American-Romanian, who had been to Seminary in Romania and almost became a priest, we had an interesting talk about the Philokalia.

Christian: The woman at the hotel desk, who put everything right.

Everyone at the University: Jessica, Annie, Luke, Chloe, Aaron, Abigail, Francey, Viviana…and all the rest. EVERY single one of the people I have EVER met who are associated with the Newcombe Fellowship are amazing people: intelligent, caring, thoughtful, disciplined, attentive, gracious…beautiful people; this group was no different.

Sandy: my waitress at The Promontory who was helpful and cheerful—I know that it was her “job”, but there are some qualities that you just can’t fake.

Samuel: The guy cleaning the counter at the Hyatt; an amazing human being. I asked him how he was, he said, “Amazing”. I said, “Are you always amazing, or is something unique about today?” He said, “I always wake up and feel amazing.” He had a natural ease and generosity of spirit about him. His amazing was infectious. We had a nice little conversation about that… he said, “This is just who I am, what I do”.

Jevary and Oscar: the shoe-shine guys at the airport. Oscar lent me his stool—he was so generous and gracious; Jevary, who was just…sweet.

Jonathan: my new friend. We ended up on an uber-Uber-adventure together after both getting on the wrong train. Who knew I had to go to Chicago to meet a really nice young man who lives 5 minutes from me?

The Uber Driver who picked up Jonathan and me (I don’t remember his name): This was another gentleman with a gracious spirit, firmly established in the gift of life. He was shot 3 times about 2 years ago, and thought he was going to die. He said, “I laid there looking up at that beautiful sky, looking at my blood pooling around me, the blood on my hands, and I prayed to God, ‘Just let me see my son one more time’”. There’s something powerful about talking with someone who has had an experience like that and who understands on such a personal level how valuable life is, how valuable people and relationships are, how beautiful life is.

One theme from A Course in Miracles is how important it is to see the Holy Spirit within others—this is how it grows within you. Once you begin to see it in others, it is reflected back to you, and you see/experience It more strongly in yourself. Then, I can imagine, it’s like standing in between two mirrors and the reflection continues infinitely.

The trick is to extend yourself first. THEN you see it in others. I really believe that I experienced all of these people as beautiful, amazing, sweet, generous, and gracious because I have been doing this work, the work of being aware of extending the Divine in myself. They and I are we and me.

I look forward to meeting you one day, if we have not already, and seeing how amazing you are. What exquisite beings we are.

 

“Like a Grumbling 12 Yr. Old”: Journey of Fulfillment 2.0 – Day 21

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Welcome to Round 3!

We’re halfway done! How are you doing? How is your life going? How’s your Journey going? Mine is going pretty well, but it took several days to hit my stride. Life is the journey, and Life has definitely been moving me, so to say. In the journey of Life, I anchor myself in the Journey, and the Journey anchors me.

See this page for information about how this round changes.

 

Guiding Thought

Everywhere fulfillment is, we are. Fulfillment is everywhere. Fulfillment is. We are.

 

Sharing

Suffering and other negative conditions are inducements to undertake positive action; please neither indulge in whining and moaning, nor try to rid yourself of negative circumstances.

The manifestation of the five emotional poisons is the secret path to timeless awareness; please do not think of them as wrong, as you would a horde of enemies.

Obstacles in all their variety are intimations of spiritual attainment; please do not react to them with apprehension, superstition, or aversion. (Source unknown)

“Be with” your troubles, your sufferings, your tension, your strife, your pain. Bless them, thank them. They are teaching you, making you stronger, fulfilling your path to attainment.

Everything you experience is giving you exactly what you need for your fulfillment. When you accept it in peace, and let it be, it runs its course, taking you to your next leg of the journey. When you rail against it, you become the child it needs to drag along to reach your destination.

My dear friend came over Friday evening for pizza, and she told us about her 12-year-old nephew. He was punished for not doing his chores and then saying he had done them. His punishment was he had to do more chores, immediately. Of course he grumbled and grumbled. She said he stomped around, grumbled, made banging noises, grumbled, stomped some more, grumbled some more… While she was telling us, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be easier to just do the chores? Think about all the energy expended in the grumbling and stomping. Let it go, relax, do what you’ve got to do.”

How many people learn that grumbling and stomping doesn’t get it done any faster? Doesn’t make the process any easier? Adults do it differently—we procrastinate, become sarcastic or snide, or complain during happy hour, but it’s the same type of behavior as a 12-year-old.

If we could just say, “Well, I gotta do it. This is my lot, here I am, and this is what I have to do…”and then allow ourselves to perfume those actions with joyfulness, thankfulness, and gratitude, then we could take the necessary actions without investing all that emotional energy into being angry or frustrated. But no, we have to resist, balk, even throw little “adult” tantrums, and it feels like life drags us along.

I know it’s hard to be joyful and thankful for things and circumstances that are painful, that are frustrating or exhausting, but do try to remember: Everything you experience is for your growth, for your attainment of Peace, of Fulfillment, of Love, of Oneness.

“Keeping Panic at Bay”: Journey of Fulfillment 2.0 – Day 20

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I am light. My Body is light. I am free. I know my fulfillment; I feel it rise within me and expand out from me.

 

Sharing

I feel like I have regressed. I know I haven’t—I know this is a new point in my progress, with different elements and energies which I am processing and assimilating—but it feels like I’ve gone backward.

I feel anxious. I feel anxiety. I feel some fear and near-panic about the future (that of course, in and of itself gives me a clue my feelings are unfounded). I feel like I don’t know what to do. I’ve been having a teenage-type existential crisis, asking, “Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? What am I supposed to do?”

I’m not yet at a crossroads, but I see it up ahead. In my anticipation, I’ve been getting myself all worked up.

The good news is I am both feeling and observing; I am not wallowing, lost, or untethered.

In my observation, I am wondering, what is different about this situation that has me all worked up? When I look at each of the elements of “what’s going on”, I am absolutely certain that I have and can, at any time, confidently handle each one of the pieces when it shows up on its own, without the interaction of the other pieces. But for some reason, there’s a dynamic at work I am experiencing as tension, stress, and fear.

The other good news is that I have been able to pull myself out of it for periods of time. The anxiety shows up in my body as pain and tightness in my chest, in my neck just under my jaw (not my throat, more like where the glands are beside my throat), and in my lips and lower-face (this, by the way, is new: I’ve never before experienced emotional-tension in my neck and face like this). So far, with meditation, breathing, and taking baths, those pains disappear for 3-6 hours, and my body is relaxed and calm again as usual. This, by the way, is a great skill to develop: using your tools and practices to pull you out of your funk. Eventually, you live your life, for the most part, above the funk and stress, but when you do come across something that throws you off, you don’t have to stay there; you just do what you know to do, and get out of it…and keep going.

A section from A Course in Miracles (Original Edition) keeps coming to mind: “When you are afraid of anything, you are acknowledging its power to hurt you. Remember that where your heart is, there is your treasure also. This means that you believe in what you value. If you are afraid, you are valuing wrongly…That is why the Bible speaks of “the peace of God which passeth (human) understanding.” This peace is totally incapable of being shaken by human errors of any kind. It denies the ability of anything which is not of God to affect you in any way.” (http://www.jcim.net/acim_us/TxtChap-2-2.php; emphasis mine)

In line with the part of me that is observing and not lost in my fear, I read this passage, and I know it is right. I know that somehow, I am valuing wrongly, that this fear is baseless, and if I “just” trust the part of me that KNOWS, the part of me that Knows God, the part of me that has absolute confidence and faith…then there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of, nothing that is able to assail my peace.

But apparently, I’m not there (and that kind of pisses me off). Why can’t I just value “rightly”? Why can’t I just change my mind and make a different choice?

Unfortunately, I’m not sure what I need to change, what I need to shift because it’s not conscious.  I’m not aware of what it is—I just have these abnormal pains and tensions in my body. I am thankful for my practices that move me unconsciously (energetically) at times like this—that get me to a new place, without my mind having to figure it out.

That passage from ACIM is how I also feel about the Journey today: I KNOW the Journey is moving me, I KNOW the Guiding Thought is telling me the truth; but I don’t feel it, and I don’t know what to do with my mind to get it.

I’m very glad I have meditation, mantra, and baths to shift my energy, when my mind is not enough.

“Warning…Mini-linguistic Lesson”: Journey of Fulfillment 2.0 – Day 17

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Your joy unifies! Accepting your joy, acknowledging it, sharing it, and expressing it heals you and heals others. To be wholly joyful means to be wholly Love…means to be wholly your Self.

 

Sharing

The words I use are obviously English-American words. I do this (first) because I am American, and English is my first language. However, a second reason is because I want the ideas, or the concepts, to be accessible to English speakers.

However, there are concepts that I talk about here that are not sufficiently embodied by English. Do you know why Eskimos have 50 different words for “snow”? It’s because they experience that many shades-nuances-subtleties of snow. In English, we use the same word, “snow”, to mean snow on the ground, blowing snow, falling snow, light snow, heavy snow, wet snow, etc. But in Eskimo languages, all of these are different and have their own word. Words symbolize what a culture collectively expresses: snow is very much central to cultures that live in snowy places.

In a similar way, Sanskrit (the ancient language from which many Indic languages have been derived), has words for concepts that are central to the culture from which it came. Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas, the oldest literature in the world. The Vedas are (arguably) the most complete work that encompasses all aspects of human existence. Sanskrit has words for concepts that English does not even recognize.

For example: In English, words are composed of letters. There is no meaning to the word letter as applied to the alphabet other than, “a” is a letter; “b” is a letter, etc.  In Sanskrit, the word for letter is akshara. There are 51 aksharas in the Sanskrit alphabet. The akshara that Westerners recognize the most is Om. However, implied in the word akshara there is a concept that the English word letter does not convey: that the sound of each letter is never destroyed. The idea is that when the sound of an akshara is uttered, it remains as vibration infinitely.

Why have I given the mini-linguistic lesson?

I started by explaining why I write in American English—I want this work to be accessible. However, as I write, some of the words I use are much bigger conceptually than the American-English word can convey.

For example:

  • The word for Joy in Sanskrit is Ananda.
  • One word for God in Sanskrit is Satchitananda, which means existence (Sat), knowledge (chit), and bliss (Ananda).
  • When I think about “Your joy unifies”, the joy I am thinking about is not just the joy of life, the joy of a newborn child, or the joy of being with a loved one; I am thinking about THE JOY that unifies, THE JOY that is the Ananda of

When I think about it in this way, the rest of the Guiding Thought falls into place, “To be wholly joyful means to be wholly Love…means to be wholly your Self”, for to be WHOLLY in Satchitananda means to be WHOLLY LOVE, means to be UNITED with your Self.

“A Small Idea: The Totality of Existence”: Journey of Fulfillment 2.0 – Day 16

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Why would you choose to limit yourself? To limit your reality? All reality is yours, and yours to give. In giving and sharing, your Joy increases, expanding Love, expanding your experience of Life!

 

Sharing

Expansion is the theme today. Feel the energy of expansion. Can you? Let your mind flow and go and grow…what does that feel like? If you’ve done some type of meditation, or if you have ever gotten into that “creative space”, or even if you have felt the endorphins kick in on a long run, you know what I’m talking about.

Here are some words that I like to associate with expansion:

Unfolding: I think of a flower unfolding, opening up. But in terms of experiencing the energy of unfolding, try to feel the quality of unfolding. Try it right now. Clench your fist. Feel the tightness; feel the restriction. Now, slowly, open your hand. Do it again, opening your hand quickly. Do it several times at different speeds. Notice the difference between a clenched hand and an open hand. Notice the muscles as they open and close—notice the process. Just notice.

When something unfolds it generally takes up more space: when I unfold my t-shirt it takes up more space than when it was folded. Energetically this is also true. When something unfolds, it opens, and encompasses more. This is the process of

Enfolding: the process of encompassing, enveloping, surrounding, of bringing into. I think of it this way (in the spiritual terms that I so often do…)—We (humans) unfold into God, as God enfolds us into Him (Her). As we open to the energy of Love, and to the experience of Love in Life, that bit of our unfolding is what we give to God, for God’s Unity to bring into Itself.

This is how “separation” is brought to Unity. We open our petals (representative of the “separate pieces”); as each petal opens, it becomes enfolded into Unity (the Oneness of God).

That which enfolds is the totality of existence. As humans, we do not (are not able to) understand the totality of existence all at once; we do it in parts, portions, segments, pieces. But that which enfolds contains and IS everything, so that what it enfolds is Itself, no exclusion.

At any point, where there is inclusion, is unfolding into God’s enfoldment. At any point, where there is exclusion, there is a limit, a constriction, a resistance to the process of unfolding/enfolding.

“Giving or Receiving?”: Journey of Fulfillment 2.0 – Day 11

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Welcome to round 2!

 

Guiding Thought

Everywhere fulfillment is, you are.  Fulfillment is everywhere. Fulfillment is. You are.

 

Sharing

How are you doing? Round 1 got off to a slow start, but I think I am in the groove now. I seem to be learning a lot, much of which I do not write here. There are a lot of new concepts and practices coming to me, helping me, advising me (for example, I have been meditating on OM almost every day—I’ve never done that before; along with the meditation, I’ve been reading philosophy relevant to meditating on OM…much of it is more or less new to me.)

During this round, the pronoun changes from “I” to “you”.  You may imagine that some wise being is saying the Guiding Thought to you, or you may imagine that you are the wise being saying the Guiding Thought to someone else. I find I like the first way (a wise being saying the Guiding Thought to me) when I feel like I need support and encouragement; I am “better” at the second way, when I feel confident and assured in the idea behind the Guiding Thought. The second way feels like a way to expand; the first way feels like a way to learn.

Today is a day for a wise being to say the Guiding Thought to me—I feel like I need some support and encouragement. If you are feeling more like the wise being who is saying the Guiding Thought to someone, please feel free to be my wise being and “say” the Guiding Thought to me!

Oh my gosh! Day 09 just popped into my head. Day 09 is all about giving what you feel like you don’t have: May those who seek help others find; May those who sorrow be compassionate; May those who are lost, light a path for another; May those who question or doubt give guidance; May those who worry lift the burden of another…Maybe I should shift my focus and give you today’s Guiding Thought.

Ok. Done. I took a moment and saw myself giving you (and All) today’s Guiding Thought. I told you that everywhere fulfillment is, you are, and I saw you enfolded in the essence of absolute fulfillment (this visual was as though you were a light within Light). Then I told you that fulfillment is everywhere, and I saw “you” in your body, looking around you and recognizing the fulfillment all around you. Then as you looked around, I said, “fulfillment is”, and you kind of nodded your head, still looking around acknowledging the is-ness of fulfillment—you can’t argue if you’re looking at it, right? Then I said, “You are”. And again, you nodded, acknowledging your presence within the is-ness of fulfillment…and again, no argument, because there you are, within Fulfillment itself! Thank you for allowing me to share that with you!

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. (From the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi)

“Make the Choice”: Journey of Fulfillment 2.0 – Day 10

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I am light. My body is light. I am free. I know my fulfillment: I feel it rise within me, expand out from me.

 

Sharing

Even though it’s not specifically in the Guiding Thought, today is about joy. Why? It’s because joy is the result of fulfillment. Divine Joy is the result of Divine Fulfillment. As we rise in the light of God, as we are lifted into freedom, not only do we come to know our own fulfillment, but we re-JOYce in the bliss of being.

Joy is the natural extension, the natural experience, the natural result of being and knowing Divine Love and Light.

This description of bliss is from the Taittiriya Upanishad (a mystic-philosophic text-based in the Vedas, from sometime between 800-200 BCE). I’ve modified it for those not familiar with Sanskrit words, using American words as best I can.

Suppose there be a youth—noble, well-versed in the scriptures, full of hope, resolute and strong, and the whole world is full of wealth for him. This is the unit measure of human bliss.

Multiply that human bliss by 100, and that is the bliss experienced by the highest divine humans (Gandharvas).

Now multiply that bliss by 100, and that is the bliss of the nearest-to-human celestial beings, the messengers of God (Celestial Gandharvas).

Multiply the bliss of those celestial beings by 100, and that is the measure of the bliss of the ancestors whose home is the eternal heaven.

Multiply the bliss of the ancestors in eternal heaven by 100, and that is the bliss of the divine beings whose home is the eternal heaven.

Multiply this by 100…and multiply that by 100…and multiply that by 100…and keep going. The text goes on like this for 5 more multiplications by 100, so altogether, at the “end” is there is the potential for bliss that is 900 times that of the highest bliss anyone can experience on earth. Can you imagine?

I’m still working toward the highest human bliss.

In A Course in Miracles, there is a section (and I apologize for the lack of specificity, I am writing from memory…), about why people do not experience the Peace that the Course teaches. The answer is, when you want nothing else you will have it. In another section, the Christ-narrator of the Course talks about hearing nothing other than the voice of the Holy Spirit. Then, also there is the lesson that says, “Above all else, I want to see”. “Above all else.” Do you get it? The choice is ALL or nothing. It’s only when we choose fully, choose wholly, choose the Divine over everything else do we KNOW the peace, hear the voice, and see with True eyes.

Right now, I feel the same way about joy, about fulfillment, about bliss. I want it ALL—real, Divine JOY, fulfillment, and bliss—over everything else. I can sense it, I know it’s just “right there”, waiting for me. Right here, where I am.

“Take A Moment”: Journey of Fulfillment 2.0 – Day 09

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

 May those who seek help others find;

May those who sorrow be compassionate;

May those who are lost, light a path for another;

May those who question or doubt give guidance;

May those who worry lift the burden of another;

May those who hide see their own light in the eyes of a stranger;

May we all give peace, no matter what.

 

Sharing

When doing the work of contemplation, meditation, or spiritual practices there is a slow, steady evolution. Small drops eventually fill a bucket; a lazy stream eventually erodes earth and rock into a canyon. The progress daily may be unnoticeable, but over time it can be seen and recognized.

If you are doing the work, however you are doing the work, take a moment to acknowledge your evolution, your progress. The shifts and changes you have made may be subtle, small occurrences that you may not even be aware of yet, but take a moment to know that no effort is wasted, and your progress and evolution are assured.

You are not the same person you were yesterday. Not quite.

As you approach your daily practice, as you continue on your path, the old seems to become new. It does not become re-newed, you do.  Thus your sight, your interpretation, your perception can be as though for the first time, seen with new eyes, experienced with new thoughts, interpreted with a new mind. Today you may seem to step into the same river as yesterday, but everything is different.

Take a moment to let yourself feel the subtle shifts, the gentle flow of the currents around you and within you. Subtlety is so easy to overlook. Nuances are easy to ignore. Take a moment to recognize and acknowledge them.

May those who stumble or falter give encouragement to others.

“Being Joy”: Journey of Fulfillment 2.0 – Day 07

Copyright Tam Black 2014 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2014
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

My joy unifies! Accepting my own joy—acknowledging it, sharing it, and expressing it—heals myself and others. To be wholly joyful means to be wholly love…means to be wholly my Self.

 

Sharing

Joy is worth studying, in my opinion. It’s worth studying because it’s worth understanding, worth achieving. I think there is too little joy in the world, too few people who know how to attain it, even fewer who know what it is, and far too many who are lost before they are even able to consider it. I want to bring more joy to the world; to do that I need to be filled full with joy! Maybe if I become filled full enough, I’ll be able to show others how to be joy-fulfilled also.

This begins with understanding what joy is, thus the “studying”.

I think (and this is only my limited opinion), that most people only imagine what real joy is, including me. Real joy is beyond the mind, beyond the heart; it bubbles up and overflows (tears of joy?), and streams forth from the very center of being, all on its own. Real joy is a life and power that seems to be its own, seems to be out of our control, even often out of reach (If it were in our control or reach, do you think there would be the epidemic here, in the United States, of pharmaceutical addictions, rampant depression, alcohol abuse, illegal drug use?). When joy happens, it overwhelms us, radiates from us, and influences everything we think and feel and do.

But this is how I imagine it. I have felt what I would call real joy several times in my life. I have the memory, but I have not held onto the feeling; I know I’ve felt buoyantly blissful and unshakably loving and peaceful within it, but I do not currently feel it, nor do I know how to feel it again, or feel it consistently. But I know that the joy I imagine is possible. I know it because I have felt it, and I have read about it. There are people who KNOW this joy all the time. They have figured out how to attain it, maintain it, and have enough to give away.

Here is the first lesson for studying joy, so that we can learn together:

In Sanskrit, the type of joy I am referring to is known as Ananda. Perhaps you’ve heard of Paramahansa Yogananda, or Anandamayi Ma? Yogananda made the appropriate connection for us, with his words, “God is ever-new joy”. God is not just the Source of joy; and it is not that God feels joyful. God is Joy. Thus, when in this regard, we feel joy, we are experiencing God.

May we all Know God as Joy, the overflowing, eternal, all-existing, infinitely-conscious bliss.