The Meaning of Joy

Joy is different from happiness or pleasure. It is an unwavering state of being.

The word joy, I believe, is misunderstood. It seems to have been confused with pleasure or happiness, both of which are temporary states.

Happiness is a mood that changes like the weather and other external circumstances. I can be happy one minute and sad or angry the next. I might be happy on payday but that giddy feeling is gone after the money has been spent. I’m happy when I get a new pair of shoes, but after I’ve had them for a while, they’re no longer new. They are just another pair of shoes. They might make my feet feel happy if they’re comfortable. If people compliment m on my shoes then my ego may be fed. But the temporary happiness I experienced when I acquired them is long gone.

Pleasure is similar to happiness, but on a more visceral level. I experience pleasure when I’m eating chocolate or ice cream or when I’m receiving a massage. Once the experience is over, however, the pleasure is over as well. Like happiness, pleasure is also a temporary state.

Joy, unlike pleasure or happiness, is an unwavering state of being. It is unaffected by external circumstances. Joy is our natural state of being. It is difficult to translate joy directly into words. It arises directly through the heart and the through the senses rather than the mind.

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