I’ve been spending a lot of time recently creating a new 28-Day Basics in Mindfulness Meditation Program that I’m hopeful will be supportive to many people in launching or deepening their mindfulness practice. As I completed the program I had a wonderful feeling of accomplishment only quickly to be followed by the thought, “Okay, now onto the other book you’re writing on Uncovering Happiness” and immediately my shoulders got tense. I feel so fortunate for the work I do because not too long after that some voices arose in my mind that saved the moment for me and ultimately are a great source of my own happiness.
The main voice that arose said, “Hold on a minute you really worked hard on that, is there a space to appreciate this and can you have joy for your own joy?” Here is some proof that I must’ve changed some neural architecture in there to make this awareness arise spontaneously.
What followed was a more conscious mindful joy practice with the intention of planting the seeds of my ability to feel joy for my own joy and extend that sentiment to people I care about and eventually to all people.
The Following is a Practice for Awakening Joy
Joy for my Joy
As I sat down and thought about the intention and effort I put forth in 28-Day Basics in Mindfulness program I said to myself:
“May I enjoy the achievements of my life.”
“May I open to the joy that is in me, and be happy.”
And then, “Breathing in, opening to joy, breathing out, I smile.”
Now, this practice isn’t easy for me as I’ve grown up in a culture, perhaps the same as you, where opening up to your own joy and achievements may seem narcissistic or indulgent. Not only that, the brain often guards against joy thinking that if you’re too elated you may be caught off guard and something terrible may happen. Brene Brown has coined this experience, “Foreboding Joy.” But I stayed with it anyway because I wanted my experience to be my teacher not my judgments.
Joy for Another’s Joy
I continued to think of someone in my life who I really cared about and pictured her. I then said in my mind:
“May I open to the joy in you.”
“May I delight in your success and be happy for it.”
“May your happiness and good fortune not leave you.”
This was a bit easier for me and I noticed my heart opening and an expansion in my chest.
Joy for All Our Joy
Finally I opened this up to all people (Hear me saying this to you if you can take it in):
“May all people enjoy success in whatever they set out to do.”
“May we all be free of jealousy and envy of others.”
“May everyone who has it share their good fortune with others.”
My final wish to you in this post is to recognize that you are deserving of your joy. It’s also natural for your brain to guard against it thinking that if you allow for this you may be caught off guard and something bad might happen.
See if you can plant the seeds of intention to be aware when you feel joy.
Ask yourself, “In this moment, can I feel joy for my joy?” See what follows.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.