“Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.” – Eckhart Tolle
That’s an interesting little quote with a depth that is not apparent upon a casual read. We do have many things in our life that bring pleasure, sometimes fleeting and sometimes memorable. We even see this is our lexicon, i.e. “It was a pleasure to meet you”; “it brings me pleasure”; ”It was a pleasurable experience”; “I took great pleasure in that.” The experience of pleasure is almost always associated with something or someone external to our self.
Joy on the other hand is most often discovered from within. Of the two emotions, joy is the more powerful and lasting and the more meaningful. I like the way that Rollo May put it –
“Joy, rather than happiness, is the goal of life, for joy is the emotion which accompanies our fulfilling our natures as human beings. It is based on the experience of one’s identity as a being of worth and dignity.”
Joy is found in doing, rather than just thinking and most often in doing for others. I’ve written a lot here about service to others as being a noble and worthwhile goal, but it is also a path to joy, as was expressed well by Rabindranath Tagore –
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
I have also written here a few times about the effects of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) on our lives and how it holds us back from doing the things that we want to do and the things that we know are right and that we should be doing. We hide behind walls that we build to protect us from the things that we fear. They may be physical walls, but most often they are mental and emotional walls that we construct. Those walls prevent us from reaching out to help that person who is somehow “not like us”. The walls prevent us from trying things that are new and different, especially if they involve people who are new and different. We build those walls to protect us from hurt and unhappiness and sadness; but, as Jim Rohn says,
“The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.”
The point is that you cannot go through life protecting yourself from all pain and disappointments, from all bad decisions, from all failed relationships, from the sadness or the hurt that life has in it. Out of the survival of those travails that life throws at you will come joy. Ralph Ransom put it this way –
“Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.”
So, let life happen and find joy in the journey.
Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. – Greg Anderson
Let joy into your life. Don’t build those walls to keep everything out. Have a great and joyful weekend. I joy in writing this post and hope that you find some joy in it too.