Happiness and Joy

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At my present level of wisdom I would like to postulate that happiness and joy are not synonymous. Whilst both are emotions, they come from different sources. The most obvious difference between these emotions is that the source of one is concrete and tangible, whereas that of the other is impalpable.

Happiness is a response to an outside event – an outward expression of elation or delight upon something happening, or a personal goal being achieved. News of a large sum of money or inheritance coming our way is happiness. As long as I am gainfully employed and rewards from my employment continue to come to me, as long as I am healthy and feel attractive and can eat and drink and move freely, I am happy. If the weather is good and my environment is beautiful, I am happy. If I am playing golf well, I am happy, and so on. If my spouse meets my needs and my children are progressing well in life, I am happy. Happiness is therefore conditional upon an event taking place, and as long as the condition remains, happiness prevails. If these conditions are no longer there, my happiness dwindles. I cannot have happiness without complementary events taking place. Continued happiness results in contentment and inner peace, but it has a dependency on events. No events – no happiness!

In a state of happiness one is never truly free because such a person harbours fear of loss of the conditions giving pleasure. The focus is more on the conditions rather than the awareness of the state of the inner-self. Some individuals who amass immense wealth come in the clutches of their wealth as they spend inordinate effort to guard it from begin snatched away. This fear of loss of the source over a period becomes the root cause of stress, which may result in varying debilitating ailments, and hence loss of happiness. Therefore, when happiness, its causes and effects have been understood, it becomes apparent that happiness only gives transient fleeting pleasure. This realisation ushers in joy as the shackles of fear begin to dismantle.

The felicitous emotion lying under happiness is joy, the fibre and essence of living!

Joy is an emotion from within borne out of chaste self-awareness and the accompanying powerful thoughts. It comes from a sense of inner well-being, true pride and high self- esteem. Great joy is derived from giving unconditionally, performing noble deeds and from being used for a mighty purpose. Joy is rooted in a constant sense of being connected with everyone and everything, in observing and accepting everything without judgment or fear, but most of all, in the awareness that one is eternally in the care of the Higher Force – Nature. The greatest joy is experienced in a state of surrender when the ego is set aside and self becomes secondary to the purpose at hand. Joy is in putting a smile on someone’s face. In a state of joy one steps out of oneself and places their total attention on the object of focus and fully experiences the present moment.

Devotion to the well-being of others, gratitude, selflessness, kind thoughts, goodwill toward others, state of inner peace and total abandon are some hallmarks of a person living joyfully. These are inner events generated without any dependency on what may be happening on the outside. For that reason joy can be lasting. Joyful living is enriched living.

Happiness is an emotion spun out of lifestyle,
whilst joy is the underlying blissful state.
Happiness is loved when it arrives, but joy is the love.
Happiness comes and goes, for it is a bi-product of living,
but joy can be everlasting in all circumstances,
for its source is the grand matrix of existence.
Joy is liberating and therapeutic, for it touches the soul!

Anil Kumar, Langshott Leadership Foundation