June 8 Meditation - "Joy is the Happiness That Does Not Depend on What Happens"
It is not happiness that makes us grateful It is gratefulness that makes us happy. Every moment is a gift. … Whatever life gives to you, you can respond with joy. Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens. It is the grateful response to the opportunity that life offers you at this moment. ― David Steindl-Rast
There’s still a lot of heavy energy in the world, and there’s also still a lot of beauty in the world. Tonight, I’m going to focus on the latter, but once again begin by acknowledging the former. I really resist the “love and light” New Age spirituality that seems to want to deny all the hardships of this world. To me, part of loving what is, which is in many ways one of the primary goals of my meditation practice, is really seeing the world for what it is, warts and all.
But I do think it’s easy to get caught in that heaviness. It’s easy to get caught in analyzing and criticizing and focusing on what’s wrong. So tonight I’d like to take a moment to reflect on all the beauty that informs every day we walk on this earth. We’ll do this silently, I’ll give you a few moments of quiet, and you can start by just noticing what comes up for you. And when you’ve noticed all the things waiting to be recognized as beautiful, as gifts, then you can start searching a bit and see what else you might find.
Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever said was, ‘thank you’, that would suffice.” I love that so much. Gratitude is a direct connection to the Divine, to Source, to that which gives us life, which we cannot take for granted.
Thich Nhat Han said, “If we don’t know we’re happy, we’re not happy.” So today, right now, I invite you to recognize all the ways you are happy. This doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be anxious, or sad, or frustrated. But also, see your happiness, and celebrate it. Own it. If there’s any guilt around being happy, send that energy into a bubble and blow the bubble up. If there’s any longing, any yearning for more or for something different, bring yourself back--a tiny meditation--to the gratitude and contentment that are always available to you. When you live from that place of gratitude, joy becomes the default.
As we move into movements and Yoga Nidra, you may continue expressing gratitude internally for this body, with its many moving parts, no matter how imperfect it might be.
A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden's beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.