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Editor's 1-Minute Essay:
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the difference between happiness and joy
Many people use “happiness” and “joy” interchangeably. For purposes of general conversation, meaning is not sacrificed. But this easy exchange of words becomes an issue when we want to differentiate between fleeting pleasures of life and those which never recede.
Materialists believe that all pleasantness is temporary; that it’s an “epiphenomenon,” a secondary, mere by-product, of fuctionings of the brain, which, in turn, is the end result of “upward causation,” atoms to molecules to organic life to cells to bodily organs – all the way up to, what they feel is, the master control, the brain. In this view, consciousness itself is an illusion, more epiphenomenality of the brain. To the hard-core materialist, there is no such thing as timeless love, no enduring bonds between people, no hope of an afterlife. It all stops when the brain dies. Just empty, haunting abyss.
And if the materialists were correct in their dystopian outlook, then a ready commutation of “happiness” and “joy” would be justified. But materialism is an illusion. Quantum physics has substantially quashed it, and, at the time of this writing, new experiments, variations of the old “double-slit,” will soon close-off convenient excuses and escape-hatches of materialist rationalization. This is big news, but we’ll avoid the temptation of discussing it right now.
Happiness is a perfectly good word, and we hope to use it more often, but it relates to “happenings,” the circumstances and events of this temporal world which, largely, and to our dismay, we cannot control. Happiness, rare as it is in this world of continual “pokes and jabs” to our well-being, does not last; nothing intrinsically of this world lasts. It’s part of a swirling process of continual change and flux. Good luck to us if we hope to find enduring happiness here.
what is it to live, but to feel the life in you down all the fibres of being, passionately and joyfully
Elizabeth's love letter to Robert, March 20, 1845: “You seem to have drunken of the cup of life full, with the sun shining on it. I have lived only inwardly; or with sorrow, for a strong emotion. Before this seclusion of my illness, I was secluded still … I grew up in the country – had no social opportunities, had my heart in books and poetry … My sympathies drooped toward the ground like an untrained honeysuckle… It was a lonely life... Books and dreams are what I lived in… And so time passes and passed – and afterwards, when my illness came, I seemed to stand at the edge of the world with all done … I turned to thinking with some bitterness that I had stood blind in the temple [of life] I was about to leave – that I had seen no Human nature, that my brothers and sisters of the earth were [mere] names to me, that I had beheld no great mountain or river, nothing in fact… I am, in a manner, as a blind poet… how willingly I would as a poet exchange some of this lumbering, ponderous, helpless knowledge of books, for some experience of life and man… What is to live? Not to eat and drink and breathe, -- but to feel the life in you down all the fibres of being, passionately and joyfully.”
before I knew you, what was I and where? what was the world to me and the meaning of life?
Elizabeth’s love letter to Robert, February 24, 1846: “I am living for you now. And before I knew you, what was I and where? What was the world to me … and the meaning of life? … Then, when you came, you never went away… Do you know that … I was frightened of you? … I felt as if you had a power over me and [you] meant to use it, and that I could not breathe or speak very differently from what you chose to make me. As to my thoughts … you read them as you read the newspaper – examined them, and fastened them down, writhing under your long entomological pins [that is, like an insect pinned to a chart for study]. But the power was used upon me – and I saw … very early … that you had come here to love whomever you should find [no matter my faults or imperfections, as you loved these, too; you loved me "not for a reason"; further, my early attempts at self-effacement and deflecting your love] had just operated in making you more determined [to reach me]… But I may say before God and you, that of all the events of my life, inclusive of its afflictions, nothing has humbled me so much as your love [which] has been to me like God’s own [unconditional] love, which makes the receivers of it kneelers.”
how can it make me happy, such a thing as my life? it never made me happy, without you
Elizabeth’s love letter to Robert, May 20, 1846: "... while the heart beats, which beats for you… my life, it is yours, as this year has been yours. But how can it make me happy, such a thing as my life? There, I wonder still. It never made me happy, without you.”
joy is the soul taking delight in its own existence
Joy is different. Much different. Joy is part of the settled mind of God; probably, the essential attribute. We bring to our attention Professor Myers’s testimony from the afterlife who asserts that “made in the image” essentially means accessing divine Joy.
Joy comes to us by “going within.” Joy is not founded upon a chemical-cocktail of the brain; it is not primarily an emotion of the body. It represents a shift, a ratcheting upward, of one's level of consciousness. It’s part of that “ever-flowing artesian spring of eternal life,” a metaphor Jesus used [John 4]. We draw "the joy" from the depths by tapping the riches of our own deepest self; which is where we “meet” God, the “holy of holies” of our sacred person.
In times of calamity and great loss, we cannot be “happy.” Of course not. Happiness, by definition, is a pleasure linked to fortuitous events. But, in those times of sadness and sorrow, we can know peace and joy. To this the apostle Paul referred in his comment, "the peace that passes all [materialistic] understanding."
Joy is part of the soul’s very nature. The “soul” is our center of consciousness. And this is linked to what we call “God,” Universal Consciousness. Consciousness could be called the "God essence." The Bible itself intimates as much: God’s name is given as “I Am That I Am” – in other words, “The One Who Simply Exists” or "The Self-Existent One," without beginning or end. In The Wedding Song we discussed "God as All-Pervasive Reality."
And when we unlock the door of the inner person, the inherent riches of having been “made in the image,” then, “the joy” becomes part of the “ever-flowing artesian spring,” bubbling up to the surface of personhood.
what about when there are no others
Once you’ve learned how to tap into “the joy,” it’s always there; it never stops, it never goes away. Essentially, “the joy” is the soul taking delight in its own existence. It is “the joy” of being. It’s not directly related to other things that make us happy, such as, delighting in children or serving others. “The joy” continues, resides deep within, even when there are no others. Kairissi and Elenchus discussed this issue with Day Star and Big Water in “Prometheus.”
That which is called the joy of creativity is a happiness unleashed at the advent of producing something new. This elation could, in part, also be "the joy" as it might be "the soul delighting in itself." But, to clarify, “the joy” is not dependent on writing a new book or producing a new painting; it’s there all the time, even when we’re vegging or lollygagging.
When I say “it’s there all the time,” I do not mean to imply “to the same degree.” Sometimes “the joy” is full throttle and wide open, while other times it might be drowsily governed down. But it’s always there, ready to be “fanned into flames” as required.
Editor's note: For advice on accessing "the joy" of the inner person, you'll want to study these books.
the other, who is no other
We’ve posed a question concerning “when there are no others.” It’s an important clarification because “the joy,” at core essence, is the soul delighting in its own existence. But what about the case concerning a certain “other” from whom we are never separated? I’m thinking, of course, of the Twin Soul. Well, mystics, Spirit Guides, and even quantum physicists now, preach that we are all connected and never truly separated from anyone.
Let’s grant that point of debate, but even so, we all know there’s difference when it comes to the Sacred Beloved. She is the one with whom you will enter the status of "One Person." When she comes into your life – yes, there will be plenty of “happiness” with all of the things you will do and experience together, but – “the joy” will now take on new meaning, new depth: "the joy," if it were possible, now becomes super-charged, intoxicated, radioactive. Your love and joy for her never abate; never grow less, only more; persist even during times when you might not be altogether pleased with events, that is, you might not always be “happy” with everything she does, but you will never, ever “fall out of joy” with her.
joy of man's desiring...
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
From a long-ago college lecture on the history of music, I recall a story about Johann Sebastian Bach. As a young musician and composer, he tried to secure employment in his village church. Several candidates were interviewed. Bach didn’t get the job; in fact, he wasn’t even second choice for the local ruling clergy.
As it happened, however, others tapped for the work, for whatever reason, could not accept the position. And I still remember the lecturer’s sardonic observation: “And so they had to settle for Johann Sebastian Bach.” Ooooooooo! That is funny. How often in life the most qualified and talented is overlooked due to politics, envy, or incompetence. But let’s not get into that right now.
Bach deserves a mention in this article for his famous and absolutely wonderful, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." We shall not enter into protracted discussion of the theme suggested by the title, as we’ve covered this material before (see on the “God” and “Jesus” pages).
But, in summary, let it be said that Jesus is not the ultimate joy of man’s desiring. That kind of talk, an empty emotionalism, disturbs, embarrasses, and irritates our Brother Joshua. Those who think they feel this way are living on an immature, lower level of consciousness – fear, guilt, shame -- one reflecting a self-loathing. It is the needy child looking for a strong father-figure.
But why should we trouble ourselves with these abstractions? Let’s ask people who really know about this to explain it.
Kairissi. So, buddy, the author has asked us to talk about romantic joy. Do we know something about this?
Elenchus. Depends which day you ask me.
K. (softly laughing) C’mon now, be a good sport, chum – just because you’ve been trying to get rid of me all of your life.
E. (small smile) I’ll succeed yet, or my name isn’t Wile E. Coyote.
K. (softly laughing) Well, I just happen to have an “Acme Happiness Kit” for you, Wile E.
E. mmm… How does it work?
K. It’s pretty simple. In the “kit” is a box of “stardust joy.” See, whenever I do something you might not be fully eye-to-eye with, I just sprinkle everything with “stardust joy,” and now even the “happenings” of life seem wonderful to you. It just colors everything.
E. That’s not fair. “The joy” I have for you is being used against me.
K. (small smile)
E. Well, you actually make a good point. “The joy” does color everything for Twins.
K. One of the big tests of love is, “Who is the one person you’d like to do everything with?” – even the little things, the tedious chores of life. I’m not saying that taking out the garbage or cleaning a bathroom is like a night on the town, but, even mundane tasks take on a certain “color” of celebration. Underlying the banality of “chopping wood and drawing water,” there’s a sense of rejoicing, a “stardust of joy” that fills the air.
E. It does make dusting the house a little harder.
K. (small smile)
E. Alright, Darling Dear, since “Love” is your domain, tell us how it differs from “the joy.”
K. Well… in The Wedding Song we said that love is a recognition of the “one life” within all of God’s creatures and creation. But Twins draw this life from each other, and enter a knowing of it, in a special way. This exquisite and intensified perception of shared “one life,” of oneness, is what we commonly call romantic feelings.
E. How does “the joy,” the soul delighting in its own existence, relate to Twin love?
K. It’s intertwined. While the “soul,” an “individualized consciousness unit,” was made “perfect,” that is, in God’s “image,” it seems that it cannot know itself, to the degree which it desires, without the aid of a Twin Soul lover.
E. This “drawing of life,” as The Wedding Song uses the phrase, reaches for depths of being seemingly inaccessible without the impetus of Twin love. In other words, he'll do things for her that he wouldn't do for himself.
K. This seems to be the case and, by extension, "the joy" becomes auxiliary aid, a catalyst, to evolvement. A resultant desire to grow, which is also a desire to please the Beloved, leads us to the purpose of sacred marriage.
E. I suddenly feel myself cosmically manipulated.
K. (smiling) I think there are aspects you like very much, though.
E. mmm… Ok, say more about “the joy” as the soul delighting in itself.
K. Darling, we are entering an area of very deep mystery. In some sense Twins are, and are destined to become, One Person. Some Spirit-Guides say that Twins create an individuality, a kind of joint-soul. While they are distinct persons, they are also One Person. We don’t know what this means exactly right now, but surely it has something to do with a super-connection, a kind of shared personhood.
E. This would mean that “the joy” of the soul knowing itself would become a joint-knowing -- a "multi-player game."
K. I believe in some sense this is true, and therefore Twins would experience “the joy” on an elevated, expanded level.
E. These are things we'll be investigating and meditating on for the next million years and beyond.
K. (sighing) Yes…
E. Sweetheart, I think we’ve completed the assignment given by the author – as much as it can be completed right now -- but I’d like to talk about “the joy” as it relates to a practical issue for lovers.
K. What are you thinking, Ellus?
E. During those many years when we weren’t together, I discovered, by accident, that “the joy” could be used as a kind of “Geiger Counter” to find the true mate.
K. I think everyone would like to know about this.
E. I had known “the joy” with you in earlier years, but had emotionally removed myself from you, wanting to put you out of my mind. I’m reminded of the quote by Nalini Singh: “We cannot forget joy. No matter how deep our rage and pain.”
E. I tried to forget you, to repress your image in my heart. I was very angry with you, more than I realized, about what had happened to us. I won’t go into it here, but there were things I did to avoid activating your memory; which is another way of saying, activating “the joy.” Subliminally, I knew that if “the joy” were allowed to resurface, I’d be pretty messed up and couldn’t live with myself. And so, I would learn by experience, “we cannot forget joy.”
K. (very softly) Darling, I think "the joy" will always be with us. Remember that poetic response of yours? I once asked if you recalled an event which, in our early years, became a “peak experience,” even, our “constructive assent,” and you said, “Yes, Beloved, I remember… I remember little else.” I was so taken by your words, Elenchus... But, tell me more of this “Geiger Counter.”
E. During that time apart from you… I would come to know various beautiful, talented, and gracious women… and I would ask myself… “I have been privileged to meet two or three ‘perfect’ girls; perfect in every way. They offer everything a man could want. And yet… I know there’s something missing…”
E. It took me a long time to understand. But, when finally I did, it was also time for me to dedicate myself to making my way back to you.
K. (softly) What did you begin to understand?
E. These “perfect” girls – were not “perfect” for me. I was extremely thrilled to know them, it was more than wonderful to be with them, but… every man named John might say these things in the beginning.
E. I finally perceived that they offered me everything except “the joy.” With all of their perfection, with all of their intent and desire to give me what I wanted -- or thought I wanted -- they couldn’t manufacture it for me. And I realized, to my incessant amazement, there was one time, just one time, in my whole life when I possessed that kind of joy… when I was with you, a long time ago.
K. (softly) One time, and one girl.
E. That's right.
K. During our time of unenlightenment, Ellus, when "the joy" is either unknown to us or has been carefully buried, we all play the roles of John and Mary. We don't know any better. We arrange our lives by the philosophy of "there're lots of fish in the sea," and if one "pretty fish" doesn't make us happy, well then, we just get a new one and try again. It's all quite dehumanizing.
E. This mechanical interview process can be very deceptive. A young man named John led around by his mammalian instincts has virtually no hope of sorting this out. He won't get what he thinks he wants, and he'll end up making Mary very unhappy. I'm thinking of something specific. To be with a beautiful woman, especially late at night, is extremely comforting -- I mean, "beautiful" in every way, not just in body, but in spirit and personality, the soft tone of her voice, her sense of the sublime and aesthetics, the acuity of her intellect and perspicacity, along with charm and gracious ways.
E. I'm reminded of Dr. Ernest Becker's phrase: "...the veritable goddesses that beautiful women are."
E. After a hard day in a harsh world, to have one's arms around such a goddess-woman, soft and tender, solicitous and warming, is extremely comforting. So much so, that this sense of delicious comfort, for a time, can be mistaken for true love and even "the joy."
K. It's the same for her, in a corresponding way. She derives great pleasure from her efforts to please him, to endear herself to him, and so, especially early on, she eagerly offers him comfort; and in this sweet symbiosis, John and Mary will allow "comfort" to serve as proxy for "the joy."
E. The sense of "comfort" can last for some time, especially if Mary is of excellent spirit and continues to work hard at pleasing John. Her natural womanly skills of charm and grace can take them a good distance. However, a day comes when "comfort" no longer seems as fulfilling; and, in that day of realization, with perceptions of "emptiness" beginning to invade, both parties sense something is quite wrong.
K. Even the intoxicating "comfort" in the middle of the night, after a time, will not compete with that most important missing element of authentic romance -- "the joy."
E. (sighing) It takes John awhile, if at all in this life, to realize and to believe that "comfort" will not satisfy him for 50 years. He had imagined that pretty Mary would serve as pleasure-source for a lifetime, but... before long there's "trouble in paradise" and both partners feel the emotional distance.
K. (softly) This happens even to John-and-Mary couples with the best of intentions. It takes a certain level of maturity and spiritual insight to perceive the difference between "the comfort" and "the joy."
E. They are not the same by any means. Those who've experienced the latter could never be fooled again, and would never settle for the former.
K. (very softly laughing) Let me interrupt us for a moment to say that "comfort and joy" sounds like a Christmas carol.
E. (small smile) That's the only forum in which they're somewhat equal.
K. (very softly laughing) And will they find us next spring?
E. (softly laughing) You still remember that.
K. (smiling) Of course -- but we must wait for a future holodeck-world to manifest our private image of Christmas delight. But right now we should not entertain this tangent-thought.
K. Ellus, I believe that God brings Twins together by perceptions of “the joy.” Finally, we learn, or are willing to admit, that “the joy” is not a fungible product, cannot be gained from just any “fish in the sea,” but… to be received from only one. When we come to see and accept this, then we will do whatever we have to do, or wait as long as we have to wait, in order to return, as Dr. Campbell said, to that one particular person who showed us “the joy.”
E. Perceiving "the joy" is a life-defining event. We're never the same after that. It changes us from the inside out. It begins to sweep away elements of materialism in our lives.Though we might live a million years, and much longer, we will always remember that first moment, the "first sight" of the Beloved.
K. (softly) It's as you said, Dear -- "I remember little else."
E. And it’s like a homing device, isn’t it? – or, a Geiger Counter.
K. The "Geiger Counter" identifies "the joy" and tells us where the radioactivity is coming from, and the "homing device" reveals the “true mate,” the apparent source of "the joy"; rather, the true mate holds the key, unlocking "the joy" within the Beloved.
E. I still find it hard to believe -- astonishing, really -- that those “perfect” girls could not give me what I wanted.
K. None of them held the key, Dear.
K. The key is more than a pretty face. "The comfort" of companionship and animal thrill, for a time, seems so overwhelmingly satisfying -- no wonder John and Mary smile such big smiles for the cameras on their wedding day. For a while, they really believe it; they're convinced they've found the holy grail of happiness in each other. But mere comfort and thrill will yet devolve to "barren wilderness without blossoming rose." Those biggest smiles of their lives have a "nasty habit of disappearing overnight."
E. I'll say it again -- for me it was so astonishing that these "perfect" women could not make me feel whole. I think my amazement was rooted in the fact that they weren't just ordinary girls, they were super-girls, much more than pretty faces -- wonderful persons in every way. Sometimes, to this day, at a late hour in the darkness, as Spirit instructs me, I still find myself astounded at this disconnect with them. And yet -- there it is! I feel "the emptiness” in their stellar presence -- “the joy” is missing; and in those moments of late-night clarity, I see plainly that if I were to be with one of them, I would soon make both of us miserable.
I'm no good to anyone after loving you...
After Loving You, Elvis
your precious love cannot be erased by just another woman with a pretty face, and your memory, you know it will remain, for it cannot be erased… that's 'cause I'm no good, I'm no good to anyone, after loving you...
E. Miserable – because, first, I’d suffer existential crisis without “the joy,” and would begin to judge my life as without meaning and purpose.
K. (softly) We were made to live in “the joy”; it speaks to the purpose of why we were created; we need "the joy" as the air we breathe.
E. I believe this is true; but another reason, despite being with a "perfect" girl, I would begin to dream of you, and wish for you – the one with whom I’d known “the joy”; and the "perfect" girl would sense my heart drifting from her, and this would hurt her.
E. Imagine that! Can you think of a more terrible predicament? -- a man having his arms around a beautiful woman, which action in itself indicates a profession of love, but, all the while, denying it by imagining being with another girl! That's really bad. When that happens, you just have to get out of that relationship as soon as you can, or you will ruin your conscience and character. No good can come from it.
K. (softly) And this is why, when Twins finally get their “eyes in their heads,” they will wait for each other, and live alone, touch no one, and not cause suffering for others and themselves -- this is Jesus' message in Matthew 19.
E. Darling Dear, I have one more thing to say about “the joy.” It’s what we talked about in The Wedding Song, about the “hot-water bottle worlds” and how dysfunctional people on the other side try to climb to so-called higher planes with greener grass and brighter flowers.
K. We came to realize that these psychologically-needy people were trying to escape the emptiness in their lives; even though, purportedly, they present themselves as “advanced beings.” To our dismay, we learned that many of these people hope to reach a “seventh heaven” and, like lemmings rushing over a cliff, plan to hurl themselves into a vast, identity-less ocean, which, in giving up their personalities, they say, will make them more “one with God.” How misguided! Where's the logic? Look at all the trouble God and the Guides have gone through to individualize us, and then we're supposed to flush it all away at the end? That's sick.
E. It’s pretty disgusting. What’s really happening here is that, despite all the self-righteous “god-talk,” their lives are just plain miserable. They are unable to sit quietly in a small room, as Kenneth Clark said, and simply enjoy the solace of their own minds. They know nothing of “the joy.” In their malaise of self-loathing and despair they become poster-children for Hoffer’s spoiled self.
K. And that’s why their present view of highest pleasure is to be rid of their own Selves by jumping into a nameless void.
E. The great lesson for all of us is this: We were made to know and to live in “the joy.” It is the greatest element of God's own mind. We can limp through life for a while without it, but eventually our own existence becomes so empty, so burdensome, without "the joy" that we will frantically seek for ways to do away with ourselves – even in the next worlds where death is not possible.
K. The Troubadour Spirit-Guides are most wise and profoundly insightful. They have seen the end of all things. Without “ultimate reality,” without receipt of “the joy,” we will arrive at a point in our lives where we’ll struggle to find a reason, as the poet says, to “stay alive for” -- and we won’t be able to come up with a good answer. That's when the final melodrama starts.
E. Finding "the joy," in the end, becomes a matter of preserving one's sanity; without "the joy," nothing will be worth it.
Ode To Billie Joe, Bobbie Gentry (1967)
"There was a virus going 'round, Papa caught it, and he died last Spring, and now Mama doesn't seem to wanna do much of anything..."
K. “Mama” lost her reason to “stay alive for.”
E. Sometimes, couples, especially the younger ones, make cute comments about “she is my life” and that sort of thing. But, even if their love is true, they might not yet realize just how dangerous and deadly is the loss of one’s love, one’s reason to “stay alive for.”
K. “The joy” is serious business. But, Ellus, I want to say something about a watered-down version of this. We've heard of gurus from Eastern religions who speak of the “bliss” of going within and finding joy. Well, this is true, of course, and we talk about the same. But I have a problem with them, in that, they seem to imply that the highest levels of “the joy” might be accessed by oneself, alone. I just don’t believe that, Ellus – I don’t feel it.
E. To view the highest order of “the joy” as a solo act, a self-stimulation, I think, is a perversion of the process.
K. If we were created to live alone, as reclusive hermits and pillar-solitarians, then their preaching would make sense. But I have lived through this, and I have experienced both what they talk about and what we have together, and no one could ever convince me that the best of “the joy” comes by way of singularity.
E. Dearest, I think the gurus mean well, but obviously that’s all they know. We learned from the Troubadour Guides that almost no one on this planet has experienced the real love and, therefore, the real joy.
K. And yet almost every young married couple thinks they have it. You just can’t trust Mary to be objective in these matters – she’s so hard-wired to want her babies and home-and-hearth that, so often, she’ll convince herself that whatever John brings to her is a “good” marriage. She wants to believe this so much and works hard to make it work. All of her womanly sensibilities cry out for success with her nest-building.
E. Is she the lady who "protesteth too much"?
K. I think she is; even when that "still small voice" within whispers to her "danger ahead," she'll put on a brave face and try to make it all work.
E. She's like the gurus who've never known the real thing, and so she imagines "this is it, I guess" and is left defending second- or third-best.
K. Mary is like Russell Crowe's character in "The Next Three Days," criticized with, "You want this too much! You're gonna **** it up."
E. And she does. But if you try to tell blinded Mary any of this while she's in high flight, craving the "good life," she's not likely to listen to others' advice, parents or friends.
K. This reminds me of Karen Carpenter, an incredibly sweet girl who became America's Sweetheart. In a BBC documentary of her life, an interviewed girlfriend spoke of Karen's ill-fated marriage: Karen had very traditional aspirations for family and children. She wanted that "white picket fence" and glowing fireplace in the living room, those Christmas mornings adorned with kids' presents, and tooth-fairies for tots.
E. It's all very sad because the "white picket fence," the cozy, well-ordered family home, is a wonderful thing. But, if "you want it too much," to the exclusion of the better angels of your nature, it won't work out well. It has to be the right time with the right person.
K. Karen rushed into a marriage with a handsome, smiling, businessman who wasn't right for her at all, and her dream fell apart pretty quickly. She allowed maternal instincts to overrule her head.
E. It's very hard for Mary to be unbiased in these matters. She wants it too much.
K. Once she allows herself to enter "the zone," she'll be on auto-pilot, defending the den and the cubs.
E. She'll be very hard to reach then, and she won't give this up easily. She'd almost rather go down with the ship.
K. It's how she sees it right now, and it all seems so right and normal on that level of consciousness. This will not change for her until she's suffered her way into a better point of view.
E. Eventually – probably not in this world, but – lightning will strike, and the real love will bring us tumbling down; and then we’ll realize what the Troubadours said was true, that we had no idea what “the joy” really is until we meet it in the Sacred Beloved.
K. John and Mary have yet to understand that the pleasures and happiness of family life, even if attained, albeit sporadically or rarely, is something very different from "the joy."
E. Dear Krissi, you’ve shared a personal experience and I will do the same… I have learned that ultimate Joy is a person… she comes to me with a beautiful face and soft tone of voice… and, even more, she helps me access "the joy" within, to infinite depths the gurus never thought about.
K. (small smile) An upgraded software version of "comfort and joy"?
E. (small smile) Now available as a holiday matched set, just in time for Christmas.
Editor's last word:
If I were asked for a very short answer to the question “What is the purpose of life?” I would have to say, "It's to enjoy your own existence."
Those who value a work-ethic might decry this definition as libertinism, something light and frivolous: “Should we not be serving others? Should we not be out there, making something, ‘conquering the wilderness,’ building some empire, transforming the desert into productive plain”? I understand all that.
Service and work have their place in a well-ordered life, but this is not what we "stay alive for." And if that's all you have, if you defy this precept, attempting to construct your existence upon "doing" rather than "being," untempered work-ethic will one day destroy you. (We discussed this in “Prometheus.”)
Regarding “work-ethic,” I know something about this. I grew up in a German farming community, among sons and daughters of pioneers, personifications of will, for whom work-ethic had become a god. But, in the end, without something more, work-ethic, for many, became self-defeating, issuing as dehumanizing effect upon the human spirit.
Unless a time arrives when enjoying one’s own existence becomes primary focus, all of the striving to build and produce, all of the heroic hard work and great toil, will offer no particle of reason to "stay alive for."
In the final chapter, determined effort -- that which might have begun as noble work-ethic -- collapses under a heavy burden of materialism, producing an anti-humanistic topor of mind, with no capacity remaining to appreciate a sunrise, a flower, or a bird's song. All had been sacrificed upon the altar of work-ethic, with differing opinions counted as abject weakness and just-good-for-nothing.
In this state of hardened, prideful stupefaction, one becomes a candidate for a protracted visit to the Dark Realms, such that only grace can save us; that is, the missionary efforts of the Guides who might reintroduce us to "the joy."