We have this tendency to conflate the idea of joy with happiness. They’re different, as A Hard Day’s Night has helped me to understand. Happiness is fun and contentment. Looking forward to something. It’s pain-free. Joy is richer. When it is present – or when it’s found, cultivated – it extends deeper within us. Joy is the life spark. And there’s nothing more admirable or human that we can do than to try to help others locate joy.

Joy is when you help open up a person to parts of themselves they didn’t know existed. It’s acceptance, which is not the same as resignation. Joy makes us want to start again. To grow our passions. To come through the night and seek wonder in the new day. It’s the openness to wonder.

Colin Fleming, on The Guardian website | View source

Maja: What is joy? Where is it? Where is love in this world that is such an evil mess.

Nick Cave: If we do not attend to the work of projecting delight upon the world, what are we actually doing? If we do not look for joy, search for it, reach deep for it, what are we saying about the world? Are we saying that malevolence is the routine stuff of life, that oppression and corruption and degradation is the very matter of the world? That we greet each day with suspicion, bitterness and contempt? It seems to me that to make suffering the focus of our attention, to pay witness only to the malevolence of the world, is to be in service to the devil himself.

Is the world heading for disaster? I suppose so. We are constantly, relentlessly, told as much. Am I hopeful for its future? Well, yes, I am. I choose to be an optimist through a kind of necessity, because from my experience pessimism is a corrosive and damaging position to take – one  that casts its shadow over all things, causing a kind of societal sickness, a contaminant that ultimately amplifies and glorifies the problems it professes to abhor.

For me, to strive toward joy has become a calling and a practise. It is carried out with the full understanding of the terms of this hallowed and harrowed world. I pursue it with an awareness that joy exists both in the worst of the world and within the best, and that joy, flighty, jumpy, startling thing that it is, often finds its true voice within its opposite. Joy sings small, bright songs in the dark — these moments, so easily disregarded, so quickly dismissed, are the radiant points of light that pierce the gloom to give validation to the world. That’s how the light gets in, Leonard Cohen tells us, whilst casting his genius and delight forever among the cosmos.

Cartoon by Michael Leunig
Click on image to enlarge
But no one understands joy like the Australian cartoonist, Michael Leunig. In his classic cartoon, ‘Gee Dad, you’re fantastic!’, a father plays his ukulele to the delight of his family, picnicking in a beam of light that cuts though an utterly devastated landscape. I can’t think of a work of art that more poignantly articulates the utter and urgent need for the pursuit of joy. Maja, joy exists as a bright, insistent spasm of defiance within the darkness of the world. Seek it. It is there.

Nick Cave, The Red Hand Files | View on The Red Hand Files website

Learn this:
There is only one certainty, and that is joy.
Everything can be explained: joy has no explanation.
We cannot explain why we are joyful.
Joy is our task.
What you receive is a source of joy for the joyless.

Source: Talking with Angels, Dialogue 30 | Oral text by Hanna Dallos; transcription and commentary by Gitta Mallasz

THE PATH WITH HEART For warriors there is only traveling on paths with heart; the path with heart makes for a joyful journey; as long as warriors follow their path with heart, they are one with it.

THE WARRIORS’ JOY The mood of warriors is a mood of joy; warriors are joyful because they feel humbled by their great fortune, because they are confident of their impeccability, and above all, because they are fully aware of their efficiency; the warriors’ joyfulness comes from having accepted that there is no fate, only the promise of power; joy is the ultimate accomplishment of warriors.

Source: Tomas, from the glossary forming part of Creative Victory, a discourse on the collected works of Carlos Castaneda

The Buddha said that if you rejoice in the good deeds of others, you share in the merit of those deeds.

Sympathetic Joy: A Tibetan Buddhist Formula for Multiplying Happiness, on Namchak website
Sympathetic joy (mudita) is one of the four immeasurables (sublime attitudes, boundless qualities) of Tibetan Buddhism. “Mudita should not be confused with pride, as a person feeling mudita may not have any benefit or direct income from the accomplishments of the other. Mudita is a pure joy unadulterated by self-interest.” Wikipedia—Mudita

The best innovations — both socially and economically — come from the pursuit of ideals that are noble and timeless: joy, wisdom, beauty, truth, equality, community, sustainability and, most of all, love. These are the things we live for, and the innovations that really make a difference are the ones that are life-enhancing. And that’s why the heart of innovation is a desire to re-enchant the world.

Gary Hamel, Innovation starts with the heart, not the head, on Harvard Business Review website (subscription / limited access)

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

Jared Croslow, author and Internet marketer

Joy isn’t emotional, in the sense that we commonly think of joy; rather, it is the state of being undisturbed by the negative things in life.

What Are the 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit? on Learn Religions website

Continue reading

External websites

The Energetic Marriage of Love & Intent, by Della Van Hise

Unconditional service by Steve Curtin

This website

Unconditional service

Index to entire site (60+ pages)

Search the site

Just type — not case sensitive — do not hit return

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors