#52 How to Find the Path to Joy

  • We may travel to far places
  • We may acquire opulence through the material
  • We may have many lovers, friendships, and a great social life
  • We may find love in another being to pass our time with
  • We may have beautiful children that we care for deeply
  • We may carry deep and strong belief structures about creation, the government, and mankind
  • We may have dreams, aspirations, and passions

But at the end of it…

When this body is to perish, what will you take and what will matter? In other words, can you find joy before the final curtain closes? Can you see what many fail to see before it’s too late?

Everything in this life is rented. It comes with an expiration date of which the time and place is unknown.

These questions might sound deep, morbid, and even stressful to some, but anything worthwhile came out of hardship.

Let’s explore this together.

I’ll share a little about me

I have good days and bad days, just like everyone else. I acknowledge them and embrace their presence but joy, the feeling that many seek, has always been here.

The past 3–4 years have been about unprecedented growth.

From losing a longterm girlfriend, to getting fired from a 10-year career, to battling with my parents divorce, and depleting my savings to help my family through tough times — life has graced me with my share of hard times. But through it all, I always had joy in my heart.

I had joy in smiles, tears, and in peace.

Life beat me down to a pulp so I could unlearn the minutia that I deemed important.

I started to realize my luck. I never once went without food, shelter, or clothes. I’ve never searched for the love of family and friends. I had terrific parents.

I had to fall to find joy.

I became a new seedling and was given a chance to sprout once again. This time, to see life for what it is and not what I think it is.

And so…

  • We may travel to far places but home will always be where the heart is.
  • We may acquire opulence through the material but these things will never quench the thirst of love.
  • We may have many lovers, friendships, and a great social life, but you will find that one true friend, who has been tried and tested, is worth more in value than many.
  • We may find love in another being to pass our time with but this will end so let go of time and let your lover die everyday and treat him/her like the lone pearl in the vast ocean.
  • We may have beautiful children that we care for deeply, but they will grow to carry their own life. Teach them what’s best in you — but don’t hope for anything in return. Let them go because the agony of a love desired from your fruit can hurt the most.
  • We may carry deep and strong belief structures about creation, the government, and mankind but they are just beliefs which come out of thought. Thoughts change. Don’t cling to what is temporary.
  • We may have dreams, aspirations, and passions, but die to them everyday. You will take nothing. Let this be the guiding force to do great work with urgency.

Some words from Seneca — a greek philosopher in Letters from a Stoic:

““Cling, therefore, to this sound and wholesome plan of life: indulge the body just so far as suffices for good health. It needs to be treated somewhat strictly to prevent it from being disobedient to the spirit. Your food should appease your hunger, your drink quench your thirst, your clothing to keep out the cold, your house to be protection against inclement weather. Reflect that nothing merits admiration except the spirit.’”

Tips to cultivate joy

  • Be mindful of what you eat and drink because it affects the way you think, feel, and interact with the world
  • Be careful about the news. In our fast paced world, information is everywhere. What is real has become a question that many don’t contemplate. Listen less so you create less divide and more harmony in your day.
  • Be mindful of what you buy. Whether you have the means or not, look at every purchase as a life decision. Ask yourself , is this a need and will this purchase bring me joy in 5–10–15–20 years? Extra stuff creates extra clutter and this creates extra fear — for the things we buy we become prisoner to.
  • Exercise but don’t be obsessive about the body. The body is built to live. Work it out but fitting society’s standards of beauty/masculinity creates it’s own problems because you are still chasing the future. Take everything one day at a time.
  • Treat those older than you like Gods. We will all share the same fate as those before us. The elderly have traveled this journey and will be gone soon. Make them smile as much as you can before they see their last days because we to will share the same destiny.
  • Be mindful of technology. Our human species has created great works of art through technology, but be careful that technology doesn’t become an illness. Spend time without the smartphones and find stillness through practices like mediation.
  • Be present. Once the zebra outruns the lion, it forgets about the lion. Don’t let stress follow you because it’s not here.
  • Smile more. 1 million people did not wake up today. 1 million did not eat today. 1 million lost someone very close. Be grateful for what you have — not only when times are good and bad, but always.
  • Be open to all our teachers. An infant, a tree, or the beggar on 16th avenue have all been teachers to me. The infant has taught me to treat every moment like nothing else matters. This has helped me listen more, show attentiveness to my friends and family, and not to multitask. The tree has taught me that with stillness, I can appreciate the world and lose myself in it, thereby becoming one with it. The beggar has taught me the importance of treating the richest and poor among us with the same candor.

Live with what you need and let your spirit carry a vagabond of fragrance so rich in joy and love that when you meet another they lose themselves in you.

With Love,

Anand Swamy

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