The Timeless Principle of Joy


Here’s Why You’re Still Not Happy

THE TIMELESS PRINCIPLE OF JOY

This is one in a series of essays that was originally conceived as a book for print publication. If you enjoy it and would like to read more from the collection, you can find a sort of Table of Contents here.

Again, a huge subject for a single chapter, so I’m only going to scratch the surface. But for now, let’s look at it in its barest form:

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Joy is a feeling of happiness and satisfaction that goes deeper than momentary enjoyment or pleasure.

That’s not to say that momentary enjoyment or pleasure should be overlooked or disregarded in any way. On the contrary, a life of joy is made up in part by the weaving together of thousands of those little moments. But it goes beyond that.

To truly have joy in your life, you need to be able to look beyond yourself and your own life to something bigger, and use that something as a mirror to look back on you and your life with some perspective. If you can do that, I mean really look and really see what you’re all about, and you can still be happy, then you’re experiencing true joy.

Many people use religion or God, along with the spiritual writings of their choice, as this celestial mirror. Many more use their relationships with loved ones and their own judgment of their connection with the rest of the world. However you go about finding that larger perspective, it is vital that once you have it, you not lose sight of it.

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Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of people go wrong. They may set out on a good path: for example, starting a business with the goal of helping people with a certain product or service. At the point they’re starting out, they’re thinking about others and what they can do to help, and that sort of panoramic view can bring true feelings of joy and contentment to an entrepreneur.

But then, a few months or years down the road, that same business person may be spending far more of their time and efforts thinking about profits and costs. They start to view their customers as assets and liabilities rather than people with lives and thoughts of their own. And at that point, their view has started to narrow down to themselves and their immediate successes and failures. They may experience some momentary enjoyment or pleasure along the way, but true joy eludes them.

And the worst part is, they often don’t understand why.

Since all material things: money, possessions, vacations, gifts… can really only provide momentary pleasure or enjoyment, and since these things can disappear so easily, (just ask anyone in America who owns a home right now!) it’s plain to see that true joy — the kind of joy that lasts — isn’t tied to these things at all.

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Instead, true joy can only be found and maintained by focusing outward — on the people that surround you and touch your life — rather than inward — at yourself and your own issues — and really making an effort to make those other peoples’ lives better, more fulfilling and… more joyful!

And, as is often the case with Timeless Principles, this is true no matter what your personal situation is or what situation those people find themselves in. It’s always true. That’s what makes it Timeless!

WORDS TO REMEMBER:“We learn in our guts, not just in our brain, that a life of joy is not in seeking happiness, but in experiencing and simply being the circumstances of our life as they are; not in fulfilling personal wants, but in fulfilling the needs of life.” — Charlotte Joko Beck

This is one in a series of essays that was originally conceived as a book for print publication. If you enjoy it and would like to read more from the collection, you can find a sort of Table of Contents here.

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