Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Spirituality and Joyfulness


Joy Following Like a Shadow

Jun 1, 2017


Living in LOVE beyond Beliefs

We Share One Life, We Are One Life


We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.

*The Buddha

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Joy is an inside to outside grace, for Joy is like a seed within our true Nature. To be Joyful means to be filled with and overflow with this Joy. Joy is one of the expressions of who we each and together truly are, even as Love is. As we do not need to pursue Love, we do not need to seek Joy - It is already here.

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As a little boy, we children at the small, rural church would sing "I've got the joy, joy, joy, down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay." This was a catchy and, yes, joyful, joy-inducing children's song.

I still believe in that joy, and I seem to live into it, or it lives itself through me, more as I get older. At age 56, I think I am more joyful than in any time of life so far. I have been happier at other periods of life, possibly, but I am not talking about happy.

So, what of this happy not being joy? Well, happy is based on happenings. If I am enjoying a pint of Rocky Road ice cream, I will likely be happy. Why? Rocky Road ice cream pleases me. Happy is okay, it is simply arising from something or someone pleasing us. So, if I were grieving deeply the demise of someone I care for, or maybe in intense pain, I would likely not be happy. Yet, I could be grieving, or in intense pain, and be joyful, for joy is not about being pleased from outside ourselves. Joy is a difficult reality to describe, unlike happiness, and joy is always a within grace, not an outside someone or something pleasing you or me. Joy could be called a contented gladness.

Last night, I was at a party, and I felt awkward much of the time. But, then, a particularly joyful person began talking with me, and my sense of being-out-of-place shifted. Before leaving, I felt like I had entered a Temple of Love. I reflected on the way home, and this day, of the joyfulness felt there. I do not prefer the venue of social connection, but Love has a way of creeping through and touching us when and where we least expect it. And, yes, the sense was of Love, so how could Joy not be sensed? As Thich Nhat Hanh writes, "True love always brings joy to ourselves and the one we love. If it does not bring joy, it is not true love." This true Love arising can arise through even a chance meeting with another person, and in the Love we see the face of the other as our true Face. Joy and Love are close companions in our one Heart.

When meeting another being, face to face, heart to heart, we meet our own True Self, and our own True Self is the same Self of the other. We are recognizing the depth of Being behind the personality of other and self. In this recognition is spontaneous loving, indeed, is the act of Love Itself. And to give ourselves to this Love, is to be one with Joy, and in the words of the Buddha, "Joy follows ... like a shadow that never leaves...."


©Brian Kenneth Wilcox 2017. Brian is a Hospice Chaplain, living out his vow to serve all living beings by serving those preparing to die and their friends and family. Brian lives a vowed life, alone in a quasi-hermitic life, and integrates varied religions, but most especially the contemplative paths of Buddhism and his native faith, Christianity. Brian received a 'mystical' Christ-experience at age 9, and was introduced to a peace untouched by pain and suffering. Later, in his mid-30s, after surviving a dark night of despair, Brian was vowed to a contemplative Christian way of life on St. Matthew's Feast day, 1995, by Greenbough House of Prayer, in Georgia, USA. This began many years of ardent reading, spiritual practice, and exploration of many spiritual paths, including publication of his book An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love. The Journey has led Brian to the joy beyond the ache, a contentment in experiential union with Grace. Brian lives with the affirmation that Love, not as emotion but Divine Presence, transcends all paths of religion and is our Source and Destination. As St. Paul writes in the Christian Bible, "Now remain always, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love." Peace to All!

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