Joy is our sense of delight and pleasure in all aspects of everyday life. Some equate joy with exuberance or exhilaration – states that cannot be maintained continuously. Others experience joy as a quiet sense of confidence and well-being. Historically both spiritual and psychological teachings have emphasized that personal development comes primarily through painful crises and that, without suffering, there can be no growth. However, newer teachings emphasize that growth comes through embracing joy:

“The future holds within its silence other modes of saving humanity. The cup of sorrow and the agony of the Cross are well-nigh finished. Joy and strength will take their place.”[1]

“[An important] characteristic of the new server is joyfulness. This takes the place of criticism (that dire creator of misery) and is the silence that sounds.”[2]

“Joy is the strong basic note of our particular solar system.”[3]

Articles by Dorothy I Riddle that expand on the topic of joy include:

Cultivating Joy

One moment I am humming as I work, reveling in a sense of absolute joy. The next moment my neighbor is yelling and banging on my door…and my sense of centeredness is fading fast as I frantically wonder what I might have done wrong. What just happened? Why is that feeling of joy so difficult to maintain?

While we may be told that our natural state is joyousness, society also tells us that we learn through pain and suffering, that fearfulness is to be expected. The problem is that we can’t experience joy if we are living in a fearful manner. So how can we shift our primary focus from fear to joy?

First, we need to adopt an experimental approach to life. We need to love obstacles, to welcome making mistakes as part of growth. If we encourage ourselves in risk-taking instead of aiming for a static state of perfection, we expand our potential for experiencing joy.

Second, we need to focus carefully as we take risks. Instead of belaboring our mistakes or bemoaning options not chosen, we need to cherish what we are learning and strengthen our compassion for ourselves and others.

Third, we need to practice forgiveness – recognizing our shared humanity and that we all make mistakes as we experiment and learn. When we use forgiveness to release that constrictive focus on wrongs done to or by us, we create room for the energy of joy.

Fourth, we need to rethink the proper role of pain and suffering. Pain warns us of potential dangers so that we can avoid them, which is useful except when we interpret that pain in a negative manner. We need to be sensitive to the suffering of others, but preoccupation with our own traumas is counterproductive. The choices we make in interpreting our experience create our emotional state, and joy wells up as we reject the role of victim and embrace the role of creator.

So, as I walk towards my door, I shift my focus from my racing pulse to how awful my neighbor must be feeling to be yelling so loudly. I gaze into her agitated face and know that, if I am willing to release my need to “be right” and remember that we are all part of the same energy field, I can recapture my sense of joy in being alive to share this moment.

[1] Alice A. Bailey, The Rays and the Initiations (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1960), 233-234.

[2] Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 2 (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1942), 132-133.

[3] Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 1 (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1936), 49.