Joyful greetings, dear friends! It is easy to feel the joy of this sacred time of year. But then we remember: All time is sacred, and joy is always with us! We are surrounded by it; it holds us in constant embrace. We cannot escape it: The joy in which we dwell is everywhere, as distant as the farthest star and as close as the depths of our own hearts. We have only to become aware and awake, accepting and attentive, to claim it. As Nan Merrill has written, "Awakening to our divine nature is a peace-filled, joy-filled, and creative way of being." As we rest in the Silence, may we come to know the Sacred joy that fills the universe around us.
Joy has the power to open our hearts, remove fear, instill hope, and foster healing. Joy leads us to wisdom, because it connects us to all we are -- our mind, heart, power, and spirit. Joy stimulates our immune system, increases our energy, and gives us mental clarity. It helps us heighten our level of consciousness so we can more readily tap our inner wisdom. Instead of agonizing over decisions, we become more able to simply listen within and know what to do.
Joy is a piercing desire, a mystical longing both painful and sweet: a kind of homesickness for a home we scarcely remember.
For this joy is close to you,
it is in you!
None of you has a spirit so heavy
nor an intelligence so feeble,
none of you is so far from God
not to be able to find this joy
"You sense the pure joy from her. And it's nice to touch that. Because we're all so skeptical -- I know I am. But even the skeptics begin to believe in God just because she's so happy. And it's not like she's preaching. This woman is just joy and happiness, period. . . . The first time you meet her, you think she's not real, not normal. But in twenty years I've never seen her change. There's an exuberance about her relationship with God, her relationship with people. Just joy, happiness, love. It's what we're born to be, and wish we could be."
We know joy when we are happy to take from life what is given. When we experience the joy of the soul and higher states of consciousness, this joy is the essence of completion and fulfillment. There is nothing that can add to it or take away from it. Joy is our natural state.
The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own fake self and enter by Love into union with the Life who dwells and sings with the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls.
Dance, my heart! Dance today with joy.
The strains of love fill the days and the
nights with music, and the world is
listening to its melodies.
Made with joy, life and death dance to
the rhythm of this music. The hills
and the sea and the earth dance.
The world of man dances in laughter and tears.
Why put on the robe of the monk, and
live aloof from the world in lonely pride?
Behold! My heart dances in the delight of
a hundred arts; and the Creator
is well pleased.
I praise You in the silence
of my heart,
for your steadfast love,
O my Beloved;
I offer prayers of gratitude
O Holy One of the universe .
My heart leaps for joy, as
I whisper to You
in the night --
my soul also, which You
renew within me.
Barnaby was like a mood, a fragrance of the harmonious inner life, permeating everything with which he came into contact. He knew sorrow and he knew joy, and he held them in a delicate balance of serenity and peace. He knew how to respond equally joyfully to an invitation to walk or talk or sit together, which seems to me to be a particular kind of training in grace -- a willingness to respond easily and happily to even the most modest adventure together. Perhaps it could be said that within his framework of being a dog, he lived life as a spiritual exercise.
Always, when we are still, we may hear the song of Life pouring joyously through our consciousness. We have only to listen, for it is always there. If we would catch the vision of the joy meant to be ours, we must dry our tears, lay aside our fears, and think from the inspirational center within us, which is nothing less than the Divine singing its song of life.
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy
We see into the life of things.
May you appreciate the unfolding of your creative joy as your imagination soars. May you leap for joy with faith in God's timing . . . May you let go of bitterness, and allow forgiveness to graciously fill your life. May you experience joy in the moment, and move forth with the word of God. May playfulness infuse the serious purpose of your life. And may you share the joy of that play and laughter so that others, too, might find happiness.