When we experience authentic joy, it is a sure sign that we are accessing a sacred space. Therefore, the more we experience this quality, the more connected we are to higher power, abundance and grace, and the more all vestiges of scarcity and separation begin to evaporate.
The system as a whole is very invested in seeing that we remain joyless. Why is this? Well, joyful people are a threat, as they can’t be controlled in the same way that anxious, depressed or fearful people can. They have a freedom about them that is scary to the status quo, as they don’t have an emptiness inside them that needs filling by excessive consumption. In effect, joyful people say, ‘I don’t really need you, as I am pretty sufficient unto myself.’
And it is true. The moment we experience real joy, we’ve temporarily transited out of the normal narrative and entered through the gateways of a new one. This is why joy is such an important point of transition, and why we need to devote energy to creating the conditions in our lives conducive to joy.
Let go of ego
Something that has the potential to kill joy in an instant is our ego self, with all its materialistic inclinations. I have always been a collector of African tribal art, and many years ago, a friend took me to visit a well-known art dealer who had a truly exquisite collection of many great pieces. I suddenly saw myself comparing my collection very unfavourably with his, and I observed all the joy drain out of my heart. Instead of being able to appreciate his collection, I was reduced to thinking that I didn’t have enough pieces; that I didn’t have any great pieces. ‘And your little collection is so insignificant,’ my ego self whispered to me, ‘and it reflects very badly on you. No one will be impressed!’
I realised that I was suddenly full of misery. I had already started out on my soul journey by this point, so I had some sense of what had gone awry, and how I could work on it. As soon as I got home, I sat with my little assembly of tribal figures, arranged them all around me, and then took time to feel myself deeply in the presence of each figure. I found that they all had unique qualities to them, as well as a mystery and a beauty that in all those years of owning them, I had never properly allowed myself to experience.
As I did this inner work, to my amazement I felt each piece begin to communicate with me and tell me about itself, and one small figure conveyed the message that it needed my respect and acknowledgement. It suggested that I shouldn’t focus on comparison, and that looking at it in terms of its financial worth was insulting.
I felt momentarily ashamed; but then the true sacredness of my little tribal
collection began to make itself known to me, and I felt quite awed by the power and beauty of my figures. I had to confess that for all those years, without my being conscious of it, I had been looking at my pieces in much the same way that my father looked at his art collections: that is, primarily as ‘good investments’. I was reminded of the famous line in Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan: ‘we know the price of everything and the value of nothing’.
I felt very sad that I had become like that. But here was a whole new aspect of my shadow side ‘outing itself’; a side that I previously had no inkling of. It showed me that I, too, was unknowingly participating in the desacralizing process.
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Extracted from Gateways to the Soul: Inner Work for the Outer World by Serge Beddington-Behrens (£14.99, Findhorn Press)