Joy is not in things, but is in you

How beautifully the great teacher Jesus trod the path of joy! He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11).

Jean Paul Richter once said, “Joys are our wings; sorrows our spurs.” And Henry Ward Beecher commented, “Joy is more divine than sorrow, for joy is bread and sorrow is medicine.” Joy is an experience almost everyone seeks, but the question becomes Where do we find it? The response can be, “Long‑lasting and true joy is found in the spiritual dimension.” The seed idea of joy is hidden within you! If you desire to walk the paths many master teachers trod, you can walk the path of joy. And this becomes easier to do when you sincerely love people!

In his book Human Destiny, LeCompte DuNouy pointed out that there are many levels of observation on the physical, mental, and spiritual planes. Many scientists in certain fields of research agree that there are also many levels of human consciousness. We know we have a physical body, and we know that we have myriads of thoughts. However, it appears that not all people are aware of their spiritual levels.

Have you ever listened to your own voice on a tape recorder? Or saw yourself on videotape for the first time? Were you just a little shocked to learn how you actually sound or look to others? Often we think we sound or look differently from others’ perspective of us. We may not be communicating to others what we really feel and what we really are. The love‑light of Spirit needs to shine through us clearly and brightly if we are to bring the harmony and order of God into our family and friends.

For the positive qualities of our spiritual nature to be expressed fully, it needs to move through three phrases of expression. First must come acceptance of the fact that we have a spiritual nature. Next, the idea expands and develops into an attitude that we hold toward life. Most of all, the idea and attitude must shine forth through the avenues of communication we use with one another.

As an example, let’s look at the quality of joy. To actually have joy and happiness present in us and in our lives in any real sense, it is important to first believe that we were meant (created) to live happy, fulfilling lives. This belief then progresses to become an attitude or a habitual way of looking at life and responding to it. This habitual way of looking at life can then allow us to recognize that persons, places, things, and situations can hold possibilities that may simply be awaiting our discovery. By making a full circle of joy—from an idea that we accept to the actual expression of that idea in our life—we can not only communicate this joy to others and bring the blessing of joy expressed, but we can also gain a wonderful feeling of confidence in knowing that others may receive happiness from the expressions we give to life!

When Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16), he may have been talking about letting the joy of the spirit shine forth from us. Charles Fillmore held the idea that “Life for every person should be a journey in jubilance!” When we think of the pain and suffering, the poverty and hardship, the personal and worldwide conflicts that seem to abound, these words may seem to be the height of pure Pollyannaism. However, Fillmore’s statement is a concept that touches the very heart of truth. Did Jesus not say, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32)? This freedom is not that which comes by revolution against the enslaving forces in the world but by revelation from within so that one can see things from the high perspective that evokes the consciousness of joy. Actually both of the above statements suggest an excellent test of consciousness. Ask yourself, Am I an incorrigibly happy person? Is the life I am living a “journey in jubilance”? If your answers are negative, then perhaps you may not be receiving the full benefits from your studies of spirituality. Or, your answer might indicate that the insights of love and joy may have been stimulating to the mind but not yet registering in the heart.

A rich parent can force wealth upon his children through a cunningly contrived will. The board of health can, and often does, force health upon those who otherwise refuse to keep themselves sanitary. But there is no way that one who is not happy and who makes no effort to achieve happiness has the blessed state of joy thrust upon him by an act of Congress, by God, or by any other agency! Why is this? Simply as Seneca once put it, “A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature.” This is but another way of saying that joy comes not from outer things or experiences but from our inner Consciousness.

Within each of us is an unborn possibility of abounding joy, and ours is the privilege of giving birth to it at any time. It is the little fire of spirit that one may smother but never quite extinguish.