Apprehending, that is, in the recognising/perceiving/discerning kind of way – nothing to do with capture or arrest. In fact, that is the nature of joy – like mercury – hard to hold, but well worth the effort. Ugh! Even effort isn’t the right word.

Joy resides in the present

One thing is for certain, you will only find joy in the present moment. As Richard Miller reminds us “our desire for happiness is taking us away … each moment reveals the great Mystery that joy and happiness are already the case.” It’s only in the now that we can apprehend joy, not in the future – the next job, new car or holiday. Not to say those things aren’t worth working towards, in fact you might feel joy in the moment as you look forward to them. But, joy lives here and now, nowhere else.

Open for joy!

Lately, I’ve wanted joy to take more centre stage in my life. So I’ve been watching out for its arrival, seeking it out. In iRest®, as the fifth kosha or layer of our being, it is always something I look in on during practice. During the visit to this layer, I might call on memories or imagery that conjure it up. As something that is so easy to override, drown out, or just miss, it is always worth making space for, even if it doesn’t always show its face. Like anything of a spiritual nature, it isn’t tangible or possible to pin down, it can’t be grasped. But, we can be ready to receive it, prepared for its arrival. A beautiful metaphor I heard recently is ‘if you want to feel the breeze, you need to sit by the window’.

I’m making efforts beyond my formal practice too. Setting the intention to relish and nourish even the smallest moments of joy that might arise. The preciousness of the touch of a hand, the sound of the rain on the roof, the taste of a mango. Whatever it is that gets that subtle sense of joy flowing through the veins. It’s kind of like putting out a sign – open for joy! Making space to invite it in.

Feeling joy in the body

I stop and notice the presence of joy. Check it out, seeking out where it resides? How it feels in the body? Noticing where and how I feel it in the body fans the flame. Like a nest of leaves and twigs cupped gently in the hands with the tiniest spark, softly blowing, coaxing, nurturing that spark to bring the fire to life. For me I feel joy as a soft, sweetness, a lightness, an inner coziness, like a smile that lights up my whole body. It often comes with colours. It usually comes unannounced, rising up for a non-obvious reason, just surfacing. But I’m learning to really welcome it, nourish it.

Joy independent of circumstance

I understand and teach that there are two types of joy, one related to actual experiences (dependent joy), and the other, joy that is independent of circumstance or experience. They are related of course and dependent joy can lead us to know joy independent of circumstance. It isn’t foreign, it’s part of our true nature, so we’re really just feeling in to who we are.