Joy is OK!

Mind over easy, modified 10 Years ago at 7/19/12 11:03 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 7/19/12 11:03 AM

Joy is OK!

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
So, I was doing jhana the other day. I'm really not that good at getting into first jhana, and admittedly, I kinda do my best at it, and then move on to second jhana. However, 2nd through 4th seem to be fairly easy to switch to and reside in. In fact, sometimes I think I kinda cheat my way up to 2nd without really residing in 1st much at all.

Anyways, I got to 2nd jhana and shifted attention to the mental pleasantness. As always, the corners of my mouth started to pull up into a smile like they always do, and I became twitchy, in a very energetic yet wonderful way. The smile just gets bigger and bigger in 2nd jhana, and it seems like there is no end to how big the smile can get. It almost seems ridiculous after awhile, how it can keep growing and growing. I just kept at it though, pushing how far I could take it. I started to shake slightly, and my breathing began to have a twitch. I just kept cultivating that mental pleasure. These twitches turned into....... laughter! I just started to chuckle, giggle, till eventually I was just sitting there, mouth wide open, head upturned, laughing and feeling the most amazing joy! It was just... surreal and ridiculous.

It really hit me at that point: Joy is OK! Joy is absolutely okay. I understand not being attached to sensations, but I really had a profound moment of realizing how it is perfectly okay to enjoy joy. If anything, I'd say that the true danger is being aversive to joy! How many times have we been in a great mood, met up with friends or people in low spirits, and naturally quelled our joy? How often have we not laughed because others weren't laughing along with us? How often have we tried to manipulate our own feelings, trying to destroy our joy because we think this is necessary to become enlightened? Sure, you can't get enlightened by clinging to joy, but who really came to the dharma scene thinking "oh boy, all this joy in my life is a problem. I must eliminate my joy to fulfill my spirituality"? For those who have been overwhelmed by dukkha in the dark night, you know what it's like to be super-sensitive to dukkha and have suffering in daily life. Many have realized that this dukkha must not be shunned, turned away, or manipulated. It must be accepted. However, the bright side to this, is that we can accept joy too! We can do jhana, have joy, and accept that joy is a completely valid thing to experience, a completely valid tool to brighten our senses, connect to the world, and a wonderful thing to share with others.

Don't let the holy dharma monk inside you stop you from smiling. It's not unholy to laugh! It's okay to be human, to joke with others, to feel the delight of just being alive. It's completely okay to turn your pain and stress into an object of humor and laughter, just as the dark night can seem to turn your laughter and joy into pain and distress. Rolling with it must be applied not only to negativity, but to the positive as well. Don't cling to joy, but do yourself a favor and cultivate it till you can hardly handle all that joy! In the end, the joy and pleasure that result won't last, but from that fading joy and bliss, you will be well in position to cultivate equanimity towards everything in your experience. Perhaps there is parinirvana at death for the arhat. However, until then, it seems that fabrications will continue to occur. So why not practice concentration and master the cultivation of those fabrications which make this temporary life enjoyable? You can have your cake and eat it too!

Jason R, modified 9 Years ago at 3/20/13 5:25 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/20/13 5:25 PM

RE: Joy is OK!

Posts: 25 Join Date: 2/22/13 Recent Posts
This was very healing for me to read. Lately I've been kind of stuck in this passive silent phase. Nothing is really great, nothing is really bad. It just is. I miss the joy and bliss from the A&P. Sometimes I even miss the hell of The Dark Night. But I read a few posts about metta practice, and then this post, and I felt a shimmer of the joy and emotional feeling I remember from the a&p, and this is a gift I cannot thank you enough for....