Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Choosing Joy

Here's another lovely little meditation by Henri Nouwen:
Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently than the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it.

What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice.
I think the key to choosing joy is the reality of impermanence. Both pleasure and pain are impermanent. People cheat themselves of joy by forgetting that pain is impermanent and by believing that pleasure shouldn't be impermanent. When we let go of our judgments about pain and pleasure, then joy is able to arise naturally in our experience.

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