Feeling joy

How should we balance the reality that our ecosystem and civilization is under serious threat, with a healthy emotional state?

In an age of extinction, are those of us who know how to really think and see -- are we doomed to feeling misery until the end of our days?

I disagree with this. I believe we are here to experience joy. And in the face of potential human extinction, the need to find joy is even more important.

Here is how I have taught myself to find joy:

(i) Joy is a unique emotional state. When we speak of joy, we have to first learn how to identify it.

Joy is the emotion we experience when we are sitting in the fullness and richness of our experience on Earth. It is a mix of contentment, gratitude, and pleasure. In that sense, it is a different feeling than sensual pleasure or gratification, ecstasy, or even happiness. Those states are more transitory.

A real joy is an emotion you might feel for the entire day, if you are able to really cultivate it.

As you go through your day, learn to identify your emotional experiences. Sometimes you feel a mix of emotions, sometimes you feel only one very strongly. Learn to identify them so that you can aim towards the emotional experience that you want, including joy.

(ii) Joy comes from fulfilling your Life’s Work with a sense of strength, zen and calm. To find a real joy, I believe you first have to discover what it is you are here to do. Why were you born at this time? What is your purpose in an age of extinction?

When you start to uncover and manifest your Life’s Work, you start to walk down the Path of the Hero. By becoming a Hero, you will change the world in a truly profound and positive way. And this path also produces a joy that you will not experience in any other way.

(iii) The deeper the fear, the deeper the trauma -- the deeper the joy. I can relate to people who suffer from heavy anxiety and trauma, as I have felt those things quite deeply in this life as well.

But those of us who have been burned by such experiences are able to cultivate a joy that is equally as profound.

That is the hidden “gift” that comes from having lived through toxic experiences: our consciousness expands in the opposite direction as well. Deep pain permits us the ability to feel deep joy as well.

By learning to work through trauma and anxiety, you can absolutely find a path that will lead you to a deep joy. This is the truest thing I know. Don’t give up on yourself if you find yourself suffering from a profound psychological pain. Do the things you need to do to take care of yourself. There is a great reward waiting for you. This I guarantee.