The dictionary defines joy as a feeling of great happiness. But this doesn’t mean forced optimism. When we think about joy from a mindful perspective, it’s really about being present for the feelings and sensations that arise as we experience joyful moments. For me, I know I am in a state of joy when things feel at ease, lighthearted and giddy. But as we all know, all moments, whether joyful or challenging are fleeting, so being present becomes that much more precious. In this exercise, we begin exploring joy from this mindful awareness. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Take a few deep breaths as you settle in to where you are. Bring to mind someone who easily brings about positive feelings for you – like a family member, a good friend, or even a celebrity you admire. Someone who is happy and successful.
Step 2: Imagine this person has just received some great news. Try to feel sincere joy for them, celebrate their success and make a wish that their continued fortune continues to grow. Think to yourself over and over, I’m so glad this person is experiencing happiness.
Step 3: Once you’ve established that feeling of joy, try to extend this feeling to a neutral person – perhaps someone you saw in the grocery store.
Step 4: And finally, practice extending that feeling to yourself. Now it may be that you are not feeling joy in this moment and that is ok. Just notice where you are now, and make the wish to feel joy. After you feel complete, let all your thoughts, feelings and images dissolve, like a cloud dissolving in the sky and let your mind rest.
As we begin to connect with joy from this perspective, it begins to feel that much more authentic and meaningful.