Where in your life do you experience joy?
The answers may change from day to day. Sweet children, loyal pets, a mug of warm coffee and being out in nature are just a few examples of things that give us joy. Animals and young kids are naturally present and joyful, which makes them great teachers.
Joyful experiences give us that feeling when the sun’s rays breaks through the clouds on a gray day. It’s feels as if joy finds us suddenly and without warning, that we don’t have control over our joy, that it just happens when it happens. In reality, joyfulness was there all along, but we didn’t realize it because we were so busy fixating on the endless chatter in our minds.
The good news is that we can actually cultivate joy by inviting it to show up more in our lives. We can intentionally part the clouds. In this analogy, the clouds represent the repetitive, compulsive thinking and all the mind’s activities that we can’t seem to shut off.
If you’re interested in bringing more joy into your daily life, the key is to quiet the mind and create a break in thinking in order to allow joy to emerge.
Here are three simple practices for quieting the mind and truly arriving in the present moment:
1. Recognize the noise in your head as noise.
This creates an opening. When you become aware of the noise and can even say,
“Noise, I see you”, the thinking automatically loses its power and momentum.
2. Recognize that this compulsive, repetitive thinking is not yours, nor is it your enemy. It is the human condition.
Appreciate that the monkey mind is actually trying to keep you safe in its own special way, and don’t fight against it.
3. Come into your body; get out of your mind.
There are many simple methods to allow yourself to fully arrive in your physical body. Take a deep, conscious breath. Feel your feet on the ground. Even stomp your feet, if you want, and feel a sense of groundedness. Place your hands on your belly as you breathe. Feel the air touching your skin. Find the habit that works for you.
Joy is your true nature. It is always there, like the blue sky and sun behind the clouds. It’s as simple as that, yet easier said than done! Practice noticing the noise, accepting it, and letting it go by bringing awareness and intention into your body and feet. In this way, we can invite more joy into our life and experiences, moment to moment.