Soul Work: Joy
The Color of Joy
Soul Work Series: 1 of 5
Joy is an emotion that occurs spontaneously, from the depths of our Being. It is not something that can be forced or faked. It is closely associated with happiness; however, it is not the same as being happy. How does joy occur? Do you recall the last time you were joyful
If an emotion were a color, joy would be yellow. Envision the wonderfully joyful things that are in our world. The first thing that may come to one’s mind is the sun. At an early age, young children learn to grab the big, fat yellow crayon and draw the sun at the top of the page.
Yellow makes you giggle. It is the effervescent and irresistible bubbles that rise from the depth of our belly when we are feeling delighted.
It is the sprinkling of iridescent nightlight: twinkling stars; round, full moons; and the subtle hum of fireflies blinking in the dark.
Springtime brings yellow daffodils, one of the first flowers to poke its head out of the crusty, winter soil, and by midsummer, the bright sunflower nods its head to follow the path of the sun.
Bright yellow makes one stand up and take notice. Remember the, once popular, ‘happy face’ of the early ‘70’s? People everywhere sported their own personal versions on bumper stickers, t-shirts, and spare tire covers at the end of the family camper. Later, this icon cleverly showed up in the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump.
Expressing the Joy for Life
Characterisitcs of Joy
Feeling joyful is undeniably different from feeling happy. Happiness may be the result of an achievement, or event. “I was so happy I won the contest,” for example. Or, we may find ourselves saying, “You make me so happy,” when we are in a new love relationship.
Joy, however, is a deeper feeling that arises from a place in the heart or soul. It may or may not be associated with any outside entity or situation. It has a light, energized, playful quality to it that makes it seem childlike.
Words to describe Joy
Innocence and delight are two words that describe the essence of joy. In a manner of speaking, the simplicity of joy enhances the innocence. Visualize a two year old at play. The whole world is an unknown field waiting to be explored. One of the primary qualities that the toddler utilizes in his play is curiosity. Not with a goal in mind, or a motive to acquire, but with a pure innocence and desire to explore. This is the nature of the two year old-the delight with the discovery he is making, while learning the truth of his world.
Secrets of the Heart
Joy reaches beyond happiness in an overflowing, bursting-with-energy feeling. But, what is the source or wellspring of this emotion?
In some spiritual practices, such as Sufism, there is a belief that there are essential aspects of the soul. This belief is also part of many nontraditional, mystery schools. The understanding is that it is our true nature to follow a path of soul development, towards authenticity.
Wings of Joy
How joyful sings my Heart,
A song both old and new.
It rises from the shelves
Of dark corners long forgotten,
And on wing-tipped heels,
Flies to the edge of the Universe…
(Denise Handlon 4/8/10)
Pure joy is an innate quality that resides in a center within the body. Similar to the energy centers of the Chakras, the perception centers are not visible to the naked eye, but are sensory centers associated with one’s spiritual Being. These subtle centers of perception include: joy, strength, confidence, peace and loving-kindness.
Joy, located on the left side of the body near the heart, can be experienced as a heart’s desire.
Imagine a moment, if you will, in which you have used the word joyless to describe an experience you’ve had. It can be a social experience, which you wish would have turned out differently, or something more personal. Now, think of the sensation in your body as you remember the experience of being in a joyless moment…a joyless relationship…a joyless life.
One can almost feel the energy seep out once more, as a memory of joylessness is brought forth. There is heaviness, perhaps sorrow. Little motivation is available, making one feel stuck. This quagmire becomes status quo, mundane.
Now, conjure up a memory in which you have experienced pure, unadulterated joy. As you bring the situation to your mind, remember as well, the sensation that the joyful experience created. If you are truthful in this investigation, you will probably recall the qualities described earlier: a playful, lighthearted feeling, lifting your spirits and delighting all of your being; an invigorating embracement of the infinite potential of your life.
Honoring your heart's desire
How do you honor your joy that is a-waiting to ‘fly to the edge of the Universe’? A simple exercise to look into your own heart’s desire is to sit in quiet contemplation. Take a few slow, deep breaths to help relax your mind/body, and inquire into what your heart is feeling. Stay focused for 10-15 minutes, concentrating on the Heart Center. Be vigilant in your discrimination of the sensations that arise. Be in the experience, the body connection, not the mind’s demand for attention. Set any thoughts or analytical critiques aside, maintaining the body experience. Following the contemplation period, write down anything you were aware of. Remind yourself to stay fully present, as you continue to go about your daily routine, being mindful to sense into your body, your heart, and not allow your mind to wander into the future of ‘what if’s’. Continue this practice for several days, noticing any changes that may occur. Keep a journal of heart wishes that may be revealed to you. Those are the hidden longings of your deeper Self.
This hub was voted the top hub in the Weekly Hubnugget Awards and won first place. (June 2010) Thank you for supporting this hub with your comments and votes. Namaste.
Books for further reading:
Simple Abundance: A daybook of comfort and joy, by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
Spacecruiser Inquiry: True Guidance for the Inner Journey, by A.H. Almaas.
The Joy of Living: Unlocking the secret and science of happiness, by Yongey Ming Yu Rinpoche, Eric Swanson, and Daniel Goleman.
The Sufis, by Idries Shah.