Joy is a pivotal factor in spiritual growth and in success in life. Joy is the only motivation that can be counted on in the long term to drive behaviors and achieve success in endeavors. As in all discussions about human beings, one must differentiate SELF and EGO and it is the selfish joy rather than ego-desire or pleasure, that is being described in this post. (Some aspects differentiating self from ego are described In the post, “The Four I’s.”) As you read this and think about it, YOU are EGO. But as you feel pleasure or pain as a result of reading this and thinking about it, YOU are SELF. As the eastern traditions so poignantly teach us, ego is the root cause of all suffering. Ego separates us from God (TFB, or truth force being as these are the three realities of God or ways one can experience God, God is a Truth you can know, a Force you cannot avoid, and a Being you can relate to) and cuts us off from what Catholics call The Holy Spirit and what I call WIND or energy. Please see the video on “Sailing” for further explanation, which can be found on the TaoistSkater YouTube channel.
In any event, if you relate (you as ego) to self and ultimately TFB, in a positive way, you are blessed with energy that has the feeling of joy. The only way to do this is to subordinate yourego to yourSELF and ultimately TFB. This has an aspect of subordinating the external or physical reality of your life to the metaphysical reality or Truth of TFB. What I mean is you begin to see the inside of yourbeing (yourbeing meaning your complete being, which includes Self, Ego, body, and Consciousness- complete post and description will follow eventually) as more significant than what is outside of yourbeing and you begin to see your Self as more significant than yourEGO.
So if you can subordinate yourEGO to yourSELF, you will begin to RELATE and BEHAVE In a manner congruent to SELF and ultimately TFB or “The Way” as described in Taoism. You will begin to create situation-realities that are satisfying and gratifying of SELFish needs and wants. This situation will bring you JOY. This post is about the “power of joy.” Joy is highly significant as nothing else can be counted on to drive long term behaviors.
It was Tony Robbins who first brought a powerful concept into specific relief for me. I believe it was in an interview or a paid advertisement for his books where I saw him say that everything we do is an attempt to feel good. At the time, I did not recognize the significance of his statement, and like so many profound truths, it took years for me to arrive at my own understanding, which is as follows. There is one mechanism that governs all life. Mother nature governs all her creatures with it (including homo sapiens at the physical level), and God (higher power, or the creator) governs homo sapiens (and other species?) with it non-physically or spiritually. This mechanism is utterly inescapable for everyone and affects even the most advanced spiritual beings, such as Jesus Christ or Budha. It is in effect every single moment and is the primary directive governing our behavior. The mechanism is pleasure and pain. We all seek to experience pleasure and seek to avoid pain. Spiritual growth will help you feel good. Specifically, it will help you experience more sublime or higher, spiritual pleasure. God has made it such that a union with God offers a human being the most sublime and profound pleasure we can experience. Ego is what separates us from God, so outgrowing or transcending ego is part of the process. That we all want to feel good, that a union with our creator makes us feel the best we can feel, and that ego prevents this, is the central thesis of my forthcoming book.
Joy is the only thing that can over time, reliably drive behavior. Ultimately the power of joy is the power of your very life force. People say “follow your bliss,” and this is true. If you can find out what you SELFishly enjoy, what your SELFish enthusiasm is, and you follow it, you will find your life unfolds naturally, the way it was intended to. I don’t want to imply there is a master plan, as that gets into fatalistic views and begs the question, “Why go through life anyway?” I will just say that there is a WAY implied in life due to the fact that you are a unique SELF. SELF has an agenda in life. So part of the power of joy is getting into the natural flow of your life rather than fighting it, thus increasing your longevity, or insuring your best longevity.
Another power of joy is the power of sustained effort and achieving lasting success in life. When you’re EGOcentric, you essentially fight The WAY (TFB) as you must use effort and will to produce the behaviors you desire as an EGO. This exhausts our life energy. So you should expect lasting success via sustained, targeted effort, if you can tap into the power of joy. JOY also helps insulate you from EGO desires, like recreational or empty sex, drugs (including alcohol), and other spiritually destructive or even physically dangerous behaviors. When you feel SELFish JOY, you are far less inclined to engage in the pursuit of EGO desires. This will protect you karmically.
Lastly, JOY is it’s own reward. LOVE, PEACE, and JOY are the three greatest blessings we can experience in this life. Obviously, physical health supports all three of these and is also a significant blessing. While JOY is it’s own reward, the power of JOY is in plugging into an energy and WAY that will sustain you in life, insure the success you SELFishly want, including vocational and relationship success, and help insulate you from destructive behaviors. JOY is critical to a spiritual path.