Happiness or Joy?

  Awakenings Home] [Wheel of Life Main Page] Back ] Next ]  



You cannot get happy and stay happy.







Joy connects us to the creative power.








When we are centered we may find peace.

"I just want to be happy!"          

Asking most people what they want from life gets the same answer, "I just want to be happy." There is a common belief that happiness is something that can be achieved and held on to it. We look forward to that time in which we can finally be happy, but it continually recedes. We want to get to the top of the Wheel of Life and stay there. When in high school, we think, "If I can just graduate then I will be happy." Graduation, however, is not fulfilling, and we decide "If I go to college then life will be better." But a college education does not bring happiness. Maybe it will come upon finding the right job, or getting married, or having children, or retiring. The goal remains elusive. The "happiness that lasts" is never found because it is actually impossible to get happy and stay happy. If life is based on obtaining happiness, then we will always fall short because life is always changing as the wheel turns.

Joy versus Happiness          

It is far better to seek "joy." Joy is related to happiness, but it is a deeper experience. In the search for happiness the individual focuses upon himself, but joy moves a person out of a self-centered preoccupation and provides an orientation towards others. Joy is an experience which connects us to that which is "Greater" than we are. It connects us to the creative power that is more than the "I" or ego. Joy gets us out of ourselves and in contact with this "Other" and with others. Joy can sustain us throughout the four phases of life. If we are willing to give up the search for happiness, we may find joy. It exists near the center of the wheel where happiness and suffering meet and intermingle.

To make such a move off the rim from happiness into suffering requires faith. Faith is also found at the center of the Wheel of Life. It is where Loss and Hope intersect. Faith comes from the action of moving towards the center. It is not that we have faith first and then act. We act first. Moving towards hope in the midst of loss gives birth to faith. This is a move that engages rather than avoids suffering. The creative power at the center of the wheel brings into being Faith and Joy. They exist in the context and container of Love, which is also at the center of the wheel. To love is to respect and value ourselves while breaking out of limited self interest and reaching out to others. It is Love, Joy, and Faith that give meaning to life, and they arise from  being centered.

Seeking the Center         

In seeking joy, faith, and love we must move off of the rim of the wheel towards the center. The creative power of the wheel will be found at the center. Here is the energy that actually turns the wheel. What is the nature of this power? It is the power that is over and above the ego. It is the point of integration that is greater than the ego. It is often referred to as God. God is at the still point -the axis- where the wheel is set into motion and is continually turned. Such an image of the "Wheel Turning God" can be distressing to many people. It seems to show God "causing" bad things to happen. It really means that God is always present at the heart of all things no matter what is happening. Even in the worst of times God is present. If we can be centered in God, that which is Greater, then we are strengthened.

          [ Awakenings Home] [Wheel of Life Main Page] Back ] Next ]