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Monday, August 25, 2014

Pure Joy


It's easy to visualize the pure, unadulterated joy of a small child. To see his fascination and awe as he discovers his world, examines ants carrying loads of breadcrumbs on their backs, gazes at the brilliant hues of summertime blooms, marvels at the fleeting magic of a multi-colored soap bubble, feels the shock of cold ocean water on his plump feet and ankles on a hot July morning, watches the distant flight of a seagull overhead, hears any kind of music - flamenco - for example, and feels the rhythm in his small body, touces the warm, furry body of a purring kitten, and tastes - for the first time - a watermelon, a banana, an avocado.

You know about this, not generally because you remember it from your own childhood, but because you are able to observe it in small children.

When do you feel that way? When does that kind of amazing joy filter through you? A friend of mind flies small planes. I imagine these feelings may suffuse him when he's out there twirling and swirling through the skies. Another friend surfs in Hawaii. I also imagine feelings of that nature going through him when he's coming down from the crest of a massive wave. Another friend sails ... often alone or in company of only one other, and again, I find it easy to imagine that kind of joy flooding his being. And while I have no high-trekking mountain-climbing friends, I also imagine they have that joy.

Many people feel great joy when they are about to see loved ones who live far away, or when they contemplate their next vacation. Others may feel great joy when they're making major purchases, such as a car or house, or when they reach a goal, receive a diploma or degree, make a sale of some kind in their business, or sign a contract, release a music CD, have an art exhibition, or publish a book. Joy comes in many forms.

But most of the above depends on very specific conditions, meaning that joy only comes if those conditions are met. Compare that to the child's joy I described in the first paragraph above. What's the difference? Isn't it true that the child finds joy, amazement, and fascination at just about every opportunity life presents along the way? Isn't it also true that the child is highly aware of its surroundings? And while it is true that an adult will rarely again have that first experience of eating a new food, or seeing something mundane for the first time, what is true, is that the adult can choose to find joy in those mundane experiences all over again - even - on occasion, seeing it all as if it were the first time.

How often do you really savour the incredible sweetness of a raspberry as you bite into it? Or the tartness of a plum? Or the juiciness of a ripe peach? How about your first java of the day? Does the startling purple of bougainvillea covering a white-washed wall fill you with pleasure? How often do you thrill at seeing a view you have seen dozens of times before? I live on Spain's southern coast, where Gibraltar and Africa may pop into my field of vision any day, depending on the mist and the haze, and I always glory in seeing them again, yet I have had people visiting, who have said, once they saw them the first time, if I point them out again on another day: been there, done that, which clearly signifies that they are robbing themselves of the possibility of joy.

Joy can be found where you seek it out, and where you are willing to be aware enough to see it. Have you had any pure joy today?

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Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

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