Living a Life of Joy

May 13th, 2006 by Steve Pavlina

How do you know when you’re living your purpose?  When your present moments begin to feel perfect.

When you live on purpose, your relationship with time changes dramatically.  You’ll no longer be looking for happiness somewhere in the future.  You’ll stop saying to yourself, “Once X happens then I’ll be where I want to be.  Then I’ll be happy.”  Instead you will look to your present and say, “This is exactly where I want to be right now… and nowhere else.  Nothing could be more perfect than this precise moment.”

The emotion that accompanies this state is joy.  Joy results from total acceptance of your present moment.  Whenever you project your consciousness away from the present moment and seek happiness in another time or place, you leave joy behind.  When all parts of your being fully embrace where you are right now, you can’t help but feel joyful.

Most likely you haven’t reached this state yet.  But it’s well within your capability to do so.  You can reach it by following your internal compass.  By assessing your current emotional state and comparing it to the state of joy, you can get a sense of your distance from this state.  You can pinpoint where you are at any time along the levels of consciousness scale.  Inner peace is right next to joy.  Neutrality is a little further out.  Far beyond that lies anger.  And really far away is fear.  The more powerless you feel, the further you are from joy, and the more you’re resisting what is.

If you are far away from joy, you cannot simply jump to this state immediately and stay there for long.  You might be able to experience it temporarily, such as through meditation, but the circumstances of your life will soon pull you back to your previous level.  But with conscious intent, you can eventually reach this state and make it your default.  And the way you do this is to keep re-pointing your life in the direction of joy by making better decisions.

Whenever you’re faced with a decision, even a seemingly mundane one such as what to eat for your next meal, choose the option that brings you closest to joy.  That will be the option that makes you feel the most powerful.  It will not necessarily be what makes you feel joyful, especially if you are currently in a very negative state.  If you’re currently depressed, you may have zero choices that will produce joy in this moment.  But you will have some choice that makes you feel more powerful and alive than the others, and that is the choice that will turn your life in the direction of joy.

If you are feeling fearful and worried, perhaps the best action you can find is one which makes you feel greedy or angry.  That is perfectly fine.  Greed and anger are both higher states than fear; they are closer to joy.  It is better to act out of anger than out of fear, since it will turn you in the direction of joy.  And soon you’ll be able to progress beyond anger.  Do not beat yourself up if a seemingly negative state like anger is the best you can muster at this time in your life.  You cannot expect any more from yourself than your best.  The anger will pass, and you’ll soon be able to climb the ladder towards more positive states.  If you are in a deep negative state such as depression, you will have to pass through higher negative states first before you can reach the positive ones.  So going from depression to anger is a very positive step in the right direction.

If you proceed in this manner with every decision you can, eventually you will reach the state of joy.  It may take some time, but you will eventually reach it and make it your default state.

Joy is in fact your natural state of being.  Babies enter this state very easily because they are fully in the present moment.  They do not seek themselves in the past or future.

When you are joyful, your life flows with ease and lightness.  Existence is no longer a struggle.  Why?  Because when you stop resisting the present moment, you stop creating problems for yourself.  Resistance creates internal problems like stress, fear, and disease, but it also creates external problems like conflict, scarcity, and injustice.  When you learn to choose the direction that creates the most joy in your life, your life will become a joyful experience in each and every moment.  And of course it is easy to accept and embrace any present moment in which you feel joyful, so the state will naturally perpetuate itself.  Joyful feelings create joyful actions which produce more joyful feelings.

The state of joy enables you to stop worrying about your survival, to stop fearing what may or may not happen, and to stop fighting your present moments.  You’ll find it easier and easier to satisfy your needs.  This will allow you to direct your consciousness outward and interact with the world without fear.  People will seem much less threatening to you.  Even strangers will smile at you more because they’ll pick up on your joyful state.  Positive people will be drawn to you like a magnet, and you’ll soon find your life filled with empowering relationships.  All the support you need will come to you.  And this in turn will give you the energy and drive to embrace your true purpose.

Simply make decisions that bring you as close to joy as possible, even if it seems very distant at first, and soon you’ll find your life becoming more joyful.  You have free will though, so in any moment you can decide to move towards joy or away from it.  The choice is yours.



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