"Why aren't you dancing with joy at this very moment? is the only relevant spiritual question." Sufi seer Pir Vilayet Inayet Khan tells us.
Israeli theologian Martin Buber also opens our eyes to this truth: "The beating heart of the universe is holy joy."
When he is about to leave his disciples, Jesus tells them, "These things have I spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." What a beautiful legacy--passing on abundant joy.
"Always remember," Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, the Hasidic teacher says, "Joy is not incidental to your spiritual quest. It is vital." So cultivate it.
Why is it so hard for us to be joyful? Is it the pressures of life which give us no relief, or the suffering of the innocents, or the rampant injustice in the world? Is it perhaps the fact that we don't like ourselves very much and always feel guilty? Or is it the fear that seizes us when we think of tomorrow?
Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-century English mystic speaks across the ages, "The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything." That is the secret in a nutshell. Behold the Divine Joy in the good and the bad, the just and the unjust, the past and the future, the magnificent moment and the tawdry one.
Frederick Buechner, a contemporary Protestant writer says: "The world is full of suffering indeed, and to turn our backs on it is to work a terrible unkindness maybe almost more on ourselves than on the world. But life indeed is also to be enjoyed. I suggest that may even be the whole point of it. I more than suspect that is why all the sons of God (and daughters) shouted for joy when God first brought it into being."
Give yourself permission to be dizzy with joy and thankful for all the blessings which abound in your day.
Give yourself permission to rejoice with others. French novelist George Bernanos writes, "To find joy in another's joy, that is the secret of happiness."
Give yourself permission to feel good about helping others. Mother Teresa of Calcutta knows, "She gives most who gives with joy."
from Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, p. 244-5.
Perhaps it was this reminder that I needed today that made me open this book to this reading. And perhaps it is a reminder for each of you. Usually if someone asks Why aren't you ... you are in trouble. Today I invite you to find something joyful and share it. It can be the sunrise, the burst of purple morning glories, the squirrel turning flips on the fence, another story of human compassion from disaster relief...
Share joy. Rejoice, again I say to you, Rejoice.