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What If Our Search for Joy is the Reason We Don't Feel It?

by David Papa


3 min read

· words,spirituality

I want more joy in my life. For a long time I have been looking for more joy. I have been using my spiritual path to try to get more joy.

What if trying to get joy is stopping me from feeling it?

The teachers say that we already have everything inside of us. The teachers say the source of our suffering is our own attachment, our own thirst to consume life instead of experiencing it. We are definitely trying to consume joy. At least I am. I try to buy joy with tastey treats and food. I try to grasp joy by playing video games or watching a movie or maybe having an orgasm. Consuming for joy is my brains approach to getting joy.

But if joy is already here, baked into me, baked into this moment, then I am looking in the wrong place. All the consuming puts my attention on the outside. It comes from this idea that I have to get joy. I have to grab it. That I have to find it "out there" and pull it into my experience. It ignores everything the teachers say. I am finding small hits of superficial dopamine by consuming joy when actually a gigantic ball of bliss is supposed to be right here right now under the surface.

This consuming also ignores my direct experience. I have had a few moments in my life where I have hit such a high vibration that I was in pure joy, with no circumstances around me changing. I saw that life itself was pure joy. I saw that everything was absolutely perfect, magical, joyous expression and I was all of it. Every time I try to change my circumstances to get more joy I am ignoring what those experiences have showed me.

So what do we do?

Every time I ask this question, in virtually every situation, the path leads me to one end: Surrender.

I have been surrendering with my suffering for a long time. I have experienced tremendous healings. And what if surrender is not just about moving through the “bad” stuff? What if surrender is also great for dropping my need to chase joy? What if I surrender my joy up to a “higher power” as well?

What if I say out loud, “Okay, God, I have seen that there is joy in everything. I don’t feel it all the time, my brain thinks I need to change and accumulate things to get it, but I know the Big Joy is already here. So then if that’s true I surrender it to You. I give up the chase. I surrender my attempt to get joy. If the Joy is already here, then it will come find me. If the Joy is already here it will bubble up through my cells, it will light up the cracks in my awareness, it will be the atmosphere in the in-between zone and I will feel it coming from “nothing”. I don’t ever have to go looking for it. And the less I look the more I allow it. The more I feel it. So let’s see, God. So be it.”

This is my latest experiment. So far it has led to lots of emotional release (crying) as my brain gives up its ideas of what I need to do, get, and consume to get joy. Those parts of my brain think joy is now gone for ever, and it will never come. Many tears.

But then sometimes I notice the twisting reaching of a tree branch, or I smell every ingredient of a very simple meal, or I notice the texture of someone else's sweater, or I am feeling the support of the floor under my butt, and suddenly I am thrown into Joy. I suddenly feel how blessed I am and my life is, feeling all the possibilities in front of me, feeling all the loving relationships around me, and feeling like I need absolutely nothing. Feeling like, what the crap have I been looking for? It is already here and impossible to not see it! And then things return to "normal".

I think the teachers are right.

Love, David

david papa retreat

(Our Intention Circle in Prague)

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