Joy and peace are our Divine inheritance, our original nature and our truest self. How do we allow ourselves to be open to the unleashing of joy in our lives?
I know, I’m a total dork….but I want you to sing along with me this classic children’s song (and here’s a YOUTUBE clip if you have forgotten the melody http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGsgHlTz6Oc&feature=related) :
I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…down in my heart…down in my heart
I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…down in my heart to stay.
I’ve got the peace that surpasseth all understanding down in my heart..down in my heart…down in my heart.
I’ve got the peace that surpasseth all understanding down in my heart, down in my heart to stay!
Now here is the tough question, how many of us really and truly experience this kind of joy and peace on a persistent and consistent basis? Sadly, not too many. Instead, we get caught up in the suffering of the human condition, driven by the fears, false perceptions and ego attachments that keep us imprisoned in angst, loneliness, anger, depression, emptiness, etc. The truth that this innocent little song is trying to remind us of is that peace and joy are our Divine inheritance and the highest truth of the human experience that God wants us to remember. Peace and joy are our original nature and is how God intended (and intends) us to live. The question remains…..how do we get there?
The song above invites those who have embraced a Christ-centered path to recognize that Jesus had the key to the realization of this joy. While many are authentically called to a Christ-centered path, this is not true for all. The good news is that we do not have to proclaim Jesus Christ to be our personal Lord and Savior in order to know the joy that God intends for us to remember. This joy is for EVERYONE…..Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, etc. etc. etc. The joy of the Divine transcends race, color, creed, sexual orientation, religion, gender, etc. etc. etc. And…the path is actually quite simple.
Since Jesus is the guru that I have chosen to embrace, I will share the path that he has revealed to us as the path to unleashing Divine joy within us. This path is in a word: prayer. Jesus had come to experience a deeply intimate and personal relationship with the Divine whom he called, Abwoon. Jesus came to know this Divine Presence through diligent attention to prayer, meditation and contemplation. We know from scripture that Jesus frequently took time out to be with his God and that his vision was attuned to seeing the Presence and Action of the Divine in each and every moment of each and every day, within each human encounter and human experience. In other words, Jesus had made God the center of his life.
This is the example that Jesus (and all the greatest spiritual teachers) set for us and the task that we are invited to embark upon in unleashing Divine joy and peace into our own lives. The good news is that there are as many ways to be attentive to the Divine as there are grains of sand on the sea shore, and each of us are called to our own experience of the Divine whether it be through silent meditation, intercessory prayer, chant and singing, mantra prayer, scriptural reflection, activism, service, in nature, in our intimate human relationships, meditative movement, vigorous exercise, the free and open sharing of our gifts, etc. etc. etc. The options are endless and the focus is the same – GOD!
How are you being called to make the Divine the center of your life?
How do you currently experience the Presence and Action of the Divine?
Where do you currently know peace, joy, love? How can you make these activities a prayer?
I can promise that if you make the Divine the center of your life, then you too can truthfully, boldly and enthusiastically sing along with me…..
I’ve got that joy joy joy joy down in my heart…down in my heart to stay!
Authentic Freedom Ministries/Your Spiritual Truth