Living with a spirit of gratitude is the first step to experiencing Joy. Joy is not dependent upon circumstances. While other people may be able to steal our happiness, they cannot touch our joy. Joy comes from within. It is a soul, or spirit thing.
Joy Can Be Dangerous
Joy can be dangerous. On the one hand, it is contagious. Spending time with someone who has learned the secret to moving with a spirit of joy will disrupt your world. The longer you spend in their company the more you want to experience life as they do. You will either learn from them, or slowly grow to resent the way in which they seem to be joyful no matter what life brings their way.
The Resentments We Cling To
The biggest block to moving with a spirit of joy is the resentments we cling to. We all have them. Those things, some large, many small, which we cling to that prove that life is not fair. Maybe we were overlooked for a promotion. Could be we did not get invited to a friend’s party. Our favorite television show was cancelled. Someone chose to go shopping instead of spending the day with us. We prepared a wonderful dinner, and nobody even said thank you. The person in the checkout line had twenty items in the express lane. Our plans have been turned upside down because of some virus. That friend of ours who always seems to move with a spirit of joy, how can they do that!
Resentments are formed when we feel as if we deserve something. A sense of entitlement is fertile ground for breeding a healthy crop of resentment. When I approach life as if I am owed or have earned something it is extremely easy for me to feel cheated or robbed of what should rightfully be mine.
“The failure to be properly grateful, to take as owed what is offered as a gift, lies at the root of many of our deepest resentments toward others – and their resentments toward us. Invariably when we are angry at someone, especially at those closest to us, it is precisely because we are not being appreciated (that is, thanked) properly. Conversely, I suspect, more than a few people harbor resentments toward us because we, consciously or unconsciously, think that it is their job to take care of us.”
Ronald Rolheiser – “Against An Infinite Horizon” – pg. 73