Friday, March 16, 2012

1.Joy can take you completely by surprise , like suddenly emerging from a dark tunnel or walking out of a matinee into the midday sun .It's a shock , but there's a sense of inevitability.You think to yourself ," Well of course !"

2. It's the very fact that we can't snap our fingers & summon up joy or even predict when it might suddenly surge up out of nowhere , unbidden , full blown & unalloyed that makes hopelessness such an irrational mistake .Franz Kafka wrote in his diaries: " Just when everything seems to be over with new forces come marching up , and precisely that means you are alive."

3. It can be what causes you to suddenly look up ( in the mist of scarfing down onion rings @ a banquette @ a diner) & say to someone ( often mistakenly ) . I love you ." The mistake is not in the joy ; it's in identifying the guy seated across from you as the source of your joy. Relationships can begin & end with this error ~ the mis - attribution of your of your joy ( or lack thereof) to another person.

4. Although it seems so quintessentially a phenomenon of presentness , joy can just as immediately seem retrospective , like something from childhood you'd thought was irretrievably lost . This is why joy so often feels like a reclaiming or redemption.
5. In times of joy , you become the most authentic version of yourself ~ what Wallace Stevens ( a great poet of joy) referred to as " the passion of yes ."There are venerable traditions of wisdom that hold suffering as the crucible of insight , but I've always felt that it's in great joy that we grasp truth.

6. Fear is it's opposite , not sadness.6
7. It doesn't always announce itself with great fanfare . It can hum , quietly , underneath .

8. It can feel like a surrender & liberation , both at the same time. These sorts of contradictions are always reconciled in joy . .

9. That expression " drunk with joy " is something of a misnomer .Joy is a bracing sobering experience .It's not a forgetting of troubles .It isn't naive . It isn't blinkered . It isn't a state of oblivion. When one's joyful , one's eyes are open . There is , in joy , an utter fidelity to the world .

10 .The melancholy aspect of joy is always right there . There's a reason we so frequently talk about "tears of joy ." That we can maintain a capacity for joy while we remain so acutely cognizant of morality is what makes human life so exquisitely poignant , so sweet & ridiculous & tragic.

11. Joy expresses itself most beautifully in shared laughter . When people laugh together , they're actually commiserating with each other , acknowledging just how difficult & baffling life can be . Joyous laughter is never embittered or sneering or derisive. To the contrary , it's ritual of solidarity , a reaffirmation that we're all in this together .Someone say to me the other day , "God is getting older . He's starting to forget things ." It was such a casually ironic joke about the uncertain world we inhabit , so warmhearted in its indulgence about the divinity upon whose infallibility man so steadfastly depended ... in that offhand , unexpected moment of laughter with someone I didn't know , I felt an unusually vivid sense of a kindred spirit .

And couldn't this be what joy ~ stripped of its bells and whistles ~ essentially is : to simply feel as if we belong , whatever our plight , here & with each other ?The 11 Things We Know About Joy. By Mark Leyner

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