The river of joy & responsibility

Sri Chinmoy’s words call on us to allow the river of joy to flow through us, urging us to realise that what he terms the ‘divine’ joy is indeed the only purpose in this life. Similarly, the Dalai Lama has spoken of the purpose of our lives as ‘to be happy’. But what does this mean?

As with so many things this is context dependent. Sometimes it takes a harsh experience in life to appreciate the simple blessings like access to (clean) water,  food and shelter, that many of us in the West often – but not always – can tend to take for granted. (Or perhaps that is just me?) But these words speak to me, today, of the importance of responsibility; that responsibility for our inner joy lies with us, and only us. The outer ‘trappings’ of a ‘successful’ life [insert whatever you need for that apply to your life/circumstances] don’t guarantee joy, nor if joy were indeed to arise on receipt of such things (physical or otherwise, eg the approving comments of others) could it ever be anything other than a fleeting experience or feeling. If we place responsibility for our joy in the hands of others we are doomed never to be truly joyful as we are expecting the impossible of them!

But we can, nonetheless, experience lasting joy – dancing like a river throughout our lives, our inner lives that is – if we take the time to observe, listen, feel, taste, smell, to intuit the joy we carry within ourselves, always present. This form of joy celebrates the miracle of a single breath or heartbeat. It attaches no significance to acquisitions of any kind, nor of any attachments to them. It whispers to us of the possibilities of joy in the simplest – but ultimately most profound – blessings in this life; and it demands that we strip away so many of our habits and learned behaviours just to see it for what it is.

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