Thursday, April 26, 2012

Befriending joy

I come to you this morning with a heavy heart.

... and doesn't that statement sound like the beginning of some major announcement -- the death of someone or something important, some life-changing event?

It's not, though; it's just... I woke this morning with a heavy heart -- all the more noticeable because yesterday was a deliciously light-hearted day, full of laughter and fun.  I laughed with my husband over breakfast, giggled with my daughter on the phone, got good news from my other daughter, spent the afternoon making costumes with friends... all good stuff.  Even the poem reading (which also included a chuckle or two) went well.

But none of that changes the fact that too many people I care about are suffering right now.  Pneumonia, surgery, losing a home, losing a job, losing a mother, marital problems, relationship problems, illness in the family... the list of trials and tribulations is a long and serious one, and I found myself lying in bed, holding each one up in prayer.

Little wonder, then, that when my husband read a sweet story to me over breakfast (about a man who bought cheap barn boards to build himself a desk, then discovered they were curly cherry and built a gorgeous piece of furniture that's been all over the world with him and grows lovelier every day) I found myself tearing up.  At one level it's a silly thing to cry over.  At another, it's a gentle reminder that there is still sweetness and joy in the world -- and that is often found in small things.

The fact is, caring makes us vulnerable.  The trials and tribulations of our friends become our trials as well -- and so I'm doubly grateful for all the little joys that yesterday brought.  Not because they remind me that some things in my world are going well (though that's always nice to know)  but because I believe that happiness gives us the fuel we need to send positive energy out to those in need. 

So when Eckhart Tolle tells me this morning, "Whenever there is beauty, kindness, the recognition of the goodness of simple things in your life, look for the background to that experience within yourself" I am listening. 

And then he says, "Many poets and sages throughout the ages have observed that true happiness -- I call it the joy of Being -- is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things... Nietsche wrote, 'For happiness, how little suffices for happiness! ... the least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a wisk, an eye glance -- little maketh up the best happiness.  Be still.'"

Yes, there will be sadness.  But there is joy, too.  Perhaps joy is like a wild animal: you need to be patient, and still; to wait for long periods with your hand stretched out.  Eventually it will venture closer and allow you to befriend it...


Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Louise Gallagher said...

My meditation guide said to me last night, after I'd shared about my blissful experience in our meditation circle, "Be the condition. Let the rest drop. Just be the condition."

and in that condition, I am of service to the universe.

In joy, in appreciating the small things, in our appreciation we become the condition of being of service to the universe.

Lovely post Diane. thank you for caring for the universe.

Maureen said...

Lovely post, Diane. Wonderful Tolle quote, and a marvelous concept: joy as wild animal.