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What Gives You Joy?

It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive.

It’s such a happy feeling. You’re growing inside.

And when you wake up ready to say,

“I think I’m going to make a snappy new day.”

It’s such a good feeling, a very good feeling.

-Fred Rogers

What is that good feeling?

It’s joy! As the yogis call it, that good feeling is “ananda,” bliss.

What is bliss? It is the total absence of fear. It is the feeling that children have when they are exploring and learning to walk and talk and meet new things. They are totally absent of fear. They are not worried about providing food for themselves. Mom and/or dad or grandpa and grandma or the baby sitter will take care of that. They are not feeling tired. Again, that will come in the future. They are not in need of hugs and kisses. Again, the child’s caretaker does that almost constantly. They are not worried about the safety of their life or their reputation. They are just joyful. They are like the little children that Lord Jesus talked about his disciples becoming.

This total absence of fear is pure joy, pure bliss.

We need to experience that good feeling, every day, so we can make it “a snappy new day.”

Can we make our day joyful? Yoga says, we just need to be aware of our core self, for it is pure joy. However, most of us do not even think of moving our awareness to our core. When we think of our core self, that awareness of joy seems so far away, seems more like an abstract reality, “pie-in-the-sky.” That joy is so distant from our experience because we have not experienced that joy of the core self in our own lives. Most of us do not know what it is like to feel the joy of our core self (as yoga says, “atman).

When Mary, one evening at supper, asked me “What gives you joy?” the first thought that came to my mind was the picture of our youngest grandchildren, Aurora and Lucian. I immediately broke into a smile. I immediately felt a “good feeling” deep inside. I felt joy! Only after further reflection did I continue to list the triggers of joy in my life—being with Mary, the rest of the children and grandchildren, teaching, sitting in meditation.

It took me a while to connect the joy that I immediately felt when seeing Aurora and Lucian’s pictures with the joy of contact with my deepest self. I realized that they were the same bliss. I felt no hint of fear in any of those awarenesses/thoughts. I realized that all I needed to do “to make a snappy new day” was to think of Aurora and Lucian and all the other joys—Mary, the other grandkids, my children, teaching, and my core self—came to my awareness and would make “a snappy new day” for me.

Alleluia! I now knew how to make my day filled with joy.

What is your “snappy new day trigger?” How can you make your day filled with joy?


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