THE PROBLEM OF JOY
– and why people avoid it at all costs
Lately I’ve been thinking about Joy and the meaning of Joy. So many of us acquaint the term with ‘Happiness’, believing that Joy is a state of Happiness.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had the experience in my life that, whenever I’m really happy and I’m running around carelessly, flapping my arms and jumping around, something happens to make me trip or stub my toe. I’d usually end up in tears! This had happened so many times that my conclusion became: “Whenever you’re happy, watch out because it can’t last”.
A few years ago I met Bahaí people in Bloemfontein. What had struck me about them, was that they were always so cheery! A specific couple that my parents and I became quite attached to, exhibited such happiness on such a constant level that my boyfriend often exclaimed to me “that’s not possible – no one is THAT happy; they must be faking it”. And, to be quite honest, I had to agree with him. It seemed too unusual for a human being to be that joyful all the time. I concluded that there had to be some kind of play-acting involved. However, I could never produce proof of my conclusion; I even became a Bahaí myself that year! But, for me, the Joy didn’t come that easily. The rules were too stringent – much more so than in the case of Christianity – and I became exasperated at the thought that I would never reach the ideals set down by Bahá‘u‘lláh. What’s more, I couldn’t keep up with all the community work – it just wasn’t for me. The religion was beautiful, as were it’s results for some people. For example: theoretically I really wanted to participate in charities, but I didn’t think I had the time, or the jest for that matter. And I didn’t make the cut.
And then, two months ago, I met someone from The Modern Mystery School and I had a similar reaction. This lady was joyful! And she had degree upon degree, Theology and Psychology included, which impressed me. So I knew she was clever, and this didn’t keep her from exhibiting happiness, which was odd. All the very knowledgeable people I knew were either careful of or skeptic of being TOO happy (not that the Bahaí‘s weren’t well learned people) . But, as I got to know this school and the people involved in it, I realized that I’d had the wrong idea about happiness to begin with and that I hadn’t really known what Joy means at all.
I have friends who, in spite of their difficult circumstances, are cheerful and happy. Even they have told me that other people tend to be jealous of them, to avoid them, because it’s just not fair that someone could be so happy. They’re twins, these friends. And, I must admit, they’re strikingly cheerful and talkative. They have each other and they’re all into independence and strength of character. Their inner jest, though, doesn’t seem to come from their religious beliefs, but from their intellectual strength. They chose positivity over the depression that is swallowing up everyone around them. That’s very admirable. Not everyone can do that successfully, though. I’d tried, and I had to endure constant criticism for it from ‘realists’ who are to fearful of attempting the same (probably because they’ve experienced the same toe-stubbing experiences as I have in their lives).
So, in all my experience with the concept of happiness, constituting joy, I’d become careful and shyly attracted to whoever managed to possess it, because I wanted it, but I was secretly afraid to fully experience it.
Pictures of “JOY” off the internet display people jumping up into the air and children running, smiling or laughing in exuberance! How wonderful! I wanted that! And who doesn’t?
And so I decided to become an initiate of The Modern Mystery School though my attempts at other religions hadn’t proved very successful. Soon enough I was told that The Modern Mystery School isn’t about religion at all. I could continue serving in The Cathedral of St Andrew and St Michael without feeling that I was betraying God (as most South Africans are taught to feel if they so much as ask questions about the church and its dogma). In fact, most of what I learned in the school was in line with what I’d learned from Christianity and the Bahaí religion. It even helped me make more sense of these religions – it put them in perspective. You see, almost all of what is now available in the biblical canon has been so heavily translated, edited and re-translated that the original Greek or Hebrew meaning barely comes through. Much of what was left out of the canon could have been tremendously useful, but over time so much of ‘God’s Word’ had gotten lost or become distorted. I remember sitting in church one morning, wondering how it was possible, with such a wonderful religion within our grasp, that there could still be so much suffering and death in the world – what, then, was the point of Christianity?
Of course one of the main reasons religions fail or become distorted, is that they’re run by humans. Humans have faults. There is no such thing as a perfect human being (except for those who strive towards perfection, I believe they come closest to it). Even the Bahaí’s tell us that humanity is the root of suffering, that God would never subject us to it and that the source of all pain lies in our dealings with one another. In theory, then, religion comes from ‘God’ and is perfect. Humans distort the truth and end up harming religion and one another. It makes sense.
Either way, I could not cling to any religion that didn’t actually bring me ‘Joy’! After all, that’s what I was after, even if I didn’t realize it. I didn’t want momentary happiness (because that’s what most religions promised to afford me), I wanted lasting Joy.
Somehow, the people in The Modern Mystery School – South Africa (and worldwide) seemed to possess exactly that! Only recently I realized why, and this is the reason that I am writing this short article. So, here it is – the secret to Joy, in as few words as possible:
Joy = a state of contentment, resulting from a constant progression towards knowing yourself!
– I made this distinction up, so bare with me – Aleksandra Ceho | Facebook recently taught a group of us in an Astrology and the 9 Trials of the Ego course that we tend to hide behind the words of other people because we fear criticism, instead of walking and talking our own truth and possibly experiencing the Joy of that.
There is almost no course they teach you, no teaching they present, that does not contain this seemingly simple truth. Of course there are layers and layers of knowledge behind this ‘truth’, but the essence of knowing thyself lies in the quest to discover who you are, and this must be done by looking in the right places. Every person’s journey towards self-discovery is different, I grant, but the great thing is that this journey inevitably leads to JOY. There’s no two ways about it.
This is because to KNOW THYSELF leads to Empower Thyself, which means to come into a full realization of your true Godhood (we were created in His image, remember). This might take a lifetime! But, the very first step already brings true Joy.
That is why, ever since I met an initiate of The Modern Mystery School, I’ve been so happy that I keep wondering what is up with myself. I’m not afraid to be happy, because, though happiness is only a momentary expression of Joy, I know that, should I stub my toe or should someone spoil my day with nastiness, I would still be in full possession of that Joy that transcends all human interaction and experience. And why? Because I’m starting to get to know myself, and this isn’t a selfish venture, it’s the most selfless thing any person could do!
No one can fully love anyone else, before they’ve come to love their true self. No one can be charitable before they’ve fully experience the charity of abundant Joy. No one can be fully whole without these basic emotions. And EVERYONE DESERVES JOY! Haven’t we all read that God has planned great things for us? This doesn’t mean that there’s a condo for each individual somewhere in Heaven furnished with our favourite things.What it means is that He has planned JOY for us. But, it is because of our free will that only a handful of us will ever reach out to grasp it! Because, if we don’t want it, then we’ll never allow ourselves to fully receive it.
I reached out to grasp my own joy when I went for a Life Activation. And, since then I’ve been climbing the ladder towards self-knowledge at a steady pace. Granted not everyone has a spiritual nature and even cares about this kind of self-development. However, it is my firm belief that every single individual on earth deserves to know who they really are because, without that, there can be no Joy and no Happiness, except in small, almost cruel spurts which are fated to diminish with time unless you have the means and resources to recreate them.
If I were you, I would want happiness too, and not just a little bit of it.
I know it’s scary, but there is such a thing as constant Joy. In fact, it’s what we all deserve, not because we’re cute or unique, but because we are Godly beings in nature – go discover that for yourself, don’t take my word for it.
Thanks for reading this! I hope my insights have brought you to realize that you are amazing and that you shouldn’t be afraid of sticking out your hand to take what you’re due. You might end up lonely, empty, sad, depressed and lost if you don’t. And, hey, how many of us haven’t been there already? Bottom line – you have nothing to lose…AND EVERYTHING TO GAIN!