The first step to forming a loving, stable relationship with something is to understand it better.
In this video, I walk you through the ins and outs, highs and lows of joy — how to feel joy more often and more fully (even if “joy” is not a regular character in your life yet), how to keep it around without cycling into pain and the “causeless joy” that arises during awakenings.
If you prefer to read all about it instead, here is the video’s transcript:
Welcome, friends, to reflections on the nature of joy.
One of the things that we’re longing for as we go through our deep inner work and walk the path of awakening is to become more available to joy. And I was asked this really beautiful question by a client recently about how I can recognize how she can cultivate and deepen experiences of joy.
And this is really important when we come from backgrounds where joy hasn’t been very alive in our family system or our personal experience. So here we go on this little journey exploring joy.
One of the most important things to know, and you might be already aware of, is joy is an energy of the heart. It’s the power and medicine of our heart centre and the actual physical organ of the heart. And when the heart is in its natural, healthy state, it’s very available to joy. This is why we often feel joy vibrating through our chest and our heart and uplifting us.
Joy is an emanation and a radiation that we can encourage to feel our whole being. Often what happens is when we feel joy in a moment or a more expanded and enduring experience, we often stay with the uplift feeling or the experience in the heart.
And what I would really suggest in order to deepen and build a stronger foundation of joy is that you will allow the joy to expand through your whole physical being and then through your energetic being. And that’s a really simple thing to do.
When joy arises in your being, whether it’s a fleeting moment or more ongoing experience, I encourage you to take a moment and close your eyes and breathe in and feel that joy and really enjoy it.
As you enjoy it, you’re going to send signals to your neurology, that this is important and you want more. So you’re going to start to build those foundation or neurological maps of joy, especially if they have been missing.
But then as you just feel that joy and you really allow yourself to be present with it, you can then, as you enjoy it, invite it to expand through your body.
You can invite it to expand all the way down to your belly and feel your belly, down your arms, to your fingertips, and even to flow down your legs to your feet and your toes. And then to just rest in that.
When I guide people to do this, it’s often the most delightful surprise to them that their entire body can radiate and emanate joy.
You may even like to take a moment and pause this video and think of a moment of joy you’ve experienced in your life. Go back there, remember the pleasure and the joy of it, and then allow it to flow through and fill your whole body so you can taste what whole-body joy is like.
And that’s going to help you with the very next tip. Here we go.
Joy is often a “high state.” And you’ve probably noticed that often we get a high when we have joy. And that’s wonderful and it can also be a bit problematic. It can sometimes — when we get into a high state, then at some point, tip us into a low state where something very difficult happens, or we have a sudden drop that’s quite dramatic out of the joy.
And that can be very painful. And subject to another video about why that happens.
So, in order to protect you from the high-low process, one of the things that I do in my own life, and I encourage people to explore, is the idea of grounded joy.
I like joy to be steady and deeply rooted within us. And then it’s a much safer, more enduring experience and gets us out of that loop of up and down so much.
It doesn’t mean the joy isn’t going to fade away, but it’s less intense and less painful.
So, to do this again, you’re just going to allow the joy, when you experience it, to not only flow through your whole body, but allow it to be more grounded so that your connection to joy is anchored in the physical body experience of joy.
Joy naturally wants to flow upward and expand out. That is its nature. And you definitely can allow that to happen, while keeping yourself connected to your body and your feet firmly on the ground, staying anchored with joy.
So, I encourage you to play with that next time joy arises in your life. I love doing it this way because it allows me to move through life with this deep embodied state of joy while also staying very present and aware of what’s happening in my circumstances.
One of the things that I’ve noticed for those of us who have trauma, or are working with trauma, is we often tend to crave the high state of joy a lot as a kind of medicine and balancer for the pain that we’re working through and the trauma we’ve suffered, and that can also get us into that high-low state. So, if that’s you, I encourage you to explore keeping your feet on the ground when you get relief and you have a beautiful high joy state.
There are two sources of joy, two ways that we generally experience joy.
The first is joy that’s connected and generated from an event, an experience, a heart opener, falling in love, being with a partner, being in nature… Something positive that’s happening in our lives that uplifts us. Or it can arise as a beautiful inner state.
And then there’s the kind of joy that has no cause at all, which is causeless joy, as the Buddhists have named it. Causeless joy is associated with awakening. And you’ll find as you deepen your journey of awakening or Kundalini or psychological or spiritual awakening in any form, that you’ll begin to have little tastes of this and moments of causeless joy. This is a joy that arises simply from the pleasure and the gift and the gratitude of being. And it can arise no matter what is going on in your life.
The more your awakening deepens and completes, causeless joy can become an enduring, permanent background state of your life.
One of the things people don’t realize about joy, and that I love the most, it’s intensely creative. When joy arises, it wants to be given form. Whether you draw it, dance it, sing it, play it, move it or hop on your rollerblades and scoot down the streets of Brooklyn, expressing that joy in one shape, form or another.
So, when you have joy, I encourage you to give it a bit of form. Whether you just make some movement or a dance or a little private jig in your kitchen. Or you channel it into a much bigger form.
That’s why artists, often when they’re creating, joy arises because joy not only is generated from creativity, but it loves to express through creative form. So, for all of you artists out there, this is a wonderful thing to dive into and explore.
Any time you give joy form, you’re going to strengthen and deepen that joy, making it more easy to return to that state because you’re building it into your body and your psyche.
And finally, I want to speak to if you haven’t experienced very much joy in your life, I hear you.
Joy was something I craved for a long time in my life. Deep into my adulthood. It was something I found in nature, but it was always fleeting. I hadn’t had enough grounded experiences and enough relief from my trauma to be able to access it as deeply as I wished.
So, I want to really hold you if you’re watching this video and you’re going, “Well, joy hasn’t really arrived for me that much yet.”
And there are some ways that we can build maps and patterns to receive the structure of joy that we’ve been lacking.
And that is because joy can be learned and shared. We can absorb maps of it, sparks of joy and ingest a capacity for joy from those around us, who already have it. They can be famous people and folks you know in your everyday life.
One of the things you can do to map that joy is to think of someone you know who’s very joyous. And close your eyes and dream into that joyous person. And allow yourself to become that joyous person. And through being that person, feeling, sensing, noticing how it is to be joy, and just sitting and soaking in their experience of joy.
You can absorb those patterns and structures of joy into your physical system.
It can also help to hang out with joyous people or watch a lot of comedy and things that uplift you. Any time you have a tiny spark and opening of joy, just spend some time savouring it and appreciating it, feeling in your physical body. And that’s going to help you, again, to map it.
And finally, for those of us that have been on big, big experiences in this life, and often many of us on the awakening path have, it’s really important to know that joy often arises from our deepest suffering. That in our dedication to transforming our personal history, there’s this place where when our compassion meets our suffering, it transmutes and transforms into joy.
And that’s why you’ll often find the people that have suffered deeply have this extraordinary access to joy. And I know that’s very true in my own life.
Thank you for being on this little journey exploring and unfolding joy. I hope you take away some juicy insights, directions and guidance that allow you to cultivate more joy in your precious life.
I want to take a moment to celebrate all the joy that’s visited you, the joy bubbles that are waiting to unfold in your heart and all that you are.
Blessings to your awakening.
And if you enjoy this video, share an emoji or comment, or let us know by the contact form on my website. Blessings, friends.