Thursday, September 04, 2014


Over the last year or so I've been thinking a lot about joy, not only because the topic has come up in some of the seminars I've been attending, but also because of reading ancient texts. I've long been of the conviction that joy is not an affect but something far deeper, an aspect of the 'ground'.

Last week I was reading a thesis on the Holy Saturday theme in RS Thomas, and one of the books the author cited was by Jean LeLoup (interesting name!) called Being Still. It's an excellent little summary of the basics of hesychia and goes a lot deeper than most introductory books. While he misuses 'experience' and 'transcend' ('transfigure would be better), of joy he writes (p. 36):

"...contentment is not yet joy. Joy is the [experience] in the depths of your being that the transpersonal, the goal of all desire, dwells here and now. God Is. No one can rob you of this joy.

"Obviously we are no longer speaking of something sensible, affective or rational, but of the ground of being. For the ancient monks, it is only when you can root your joy here that you can truly radiate joy in daily life.

"Tis joy no longer depends on externals, on what happens to us. It is no longer a question of health or temperament but of fidelity to the uncreated Presence who dwells within each person. This is joy that abides. This joy is not the cheerfulness or lighthearted of the privileged temperament, but the deep tranquillity of someone who encounters another not to fulfil his or her own needs but for the pleasure of communing with the life which at once unites and transcends them."


Blogger Joel said...

Ah, my one theme Maggie! "It was (not for Love, not for Hope,, not for us [I would muse]) for the JOY set before him that Jesus endured the Cross and Pain!" That is the secret! And THAT joy is un-speakable save perhaps, in song-- Jubilo???. With "the World" as I see it around me, I find no happiness, only sadness, but JOY, I am ever, EVER FULL of Joy knowing that NOTHING can separate us from the Love of God, and that ALL shall be well, and ALL SHALL be WELL, and that all manner of thing shall be well--- we CAN not lose or be lost! All shall be redeemed! I think your post is JOY!

7:43 pm, September 06, 2014  
Blogger Ian Duncan said...

I think that joy, as you have written about it, is the best translation of ánanda, the Indian word usually translated as "bliss", which has a very superficial connotation.

7:03 pm, September 08, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when self falls away is joy.

11:53 pm, September 08, 2014  

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