Introduction to Joy

Introduction to Joy

The Jewish religious leader Rebbe Nachman said that the pathway to our true destiny is joy. Joy and enthusiasm are important aspects of the spiritual path, and are needed now more then ever during this global pandemic slowdown.

My colleague Peggy Clarke wrote about an experience with joy as a young woman. She was at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, known for its astonishing red-orange hoodoo rock formations. Clarke writes:

“One night, deep in the dark, we sat on the edge of the canyon talking about the world and the beauty that abounds. I didn’t know what time it was, but I knew morning had to be nearby. One of the guys we were with asked if we could be quiet for a bit, so we sat, feet hanging over the edge, in complete silence. And as we sat, the most magnificent, most glorious thing happened. The sun rose. It broke through the darkness in such a grand display of power and grace I would not have been surprised had the rocks and trees started to sing Alleluia. We sat awestruck until we spontaneously broke out in applause, hollering and cheering in gratitude. Joy is not in the circumstance, but in the response. The sun rises every day, like it or not. Being entranced by it is a choice.”

Joy is not in the circumstance, but the response. As we struggle in economic uncertainty, isolated and overwhelmed, this is a spiritual truth worth remembering. While we can’t simply choose to feel joy we can work to cultivate a stance of curiousity and connection that will help us be open to experiencing joy, taking us out of ourselves, binding us to all-that-is.

These days we can’t stay always mired in worry, this injures our spirit. We must continue to seek joy and delight. As Unitarian Universalists we know life is complex, there is both/and: in the dark there will be moments of light.

Lean in toward the light. Seek joy.




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