Moments of Joy

It occurs to me that all the meditative and religious traditions of the world, at their core, are about finding a way, despite all the terrible, stressful, depressing things in the average person’s life, to find some joy.

I’ve spent my entire life studying martial arts, physics, religions, philosophies, yoga, dance, etc., and in retrospect, my interest in each has always boiled down to that search. I’ve always just known, at some level, that happiness is a lot more about who you are than about where you are in life. I’ve succeeded, from time to time. After an intense meditation session, a day-long dance competition, lost in contemplation of the universe’s deepest rules, there have come moments of deep, consciousness-pervading peace.

Surprisingly, those moments come more often the older I get, and from much more surprising places. Despite life accelerating, despite the bad and good things coming more frequently and more unexpectedly, despite my body’s mounting failures and pervasive pain, I’m happier than I have ever been more often than I have ever been. I sometimes wonder if those religions and philosophies all started with some very old person who just lived long enough to find peace naturally trying to trick the young’ns into finding some relief from their suffering…

Anyway, today, I shaved. Nothing I haven’t done a million times before, but one thing was different. For the first time in perhaps two years, I was completely alone in the house this morning, with no job to go to, no activities scheduled, no diapers to change, no immediate chores to do or projects to plan, just at loose ends for the first time in so long I can’t remember. Since I had time, I did it right.

I shaved with a blade. Slowly, carefully, and with copious, well prepared lather, I carried out what I’ve always considered an utterly pedestrian pursuit with a studious attention to detail. I let the blade slide across my skin at whatever speed it seemed to desire. I reapplied lather whenever there was the remotest chance it was thinning. I didn’t think about what I was doing, I just did. It was utterly blissful. It was a precious moment of quiet, ecstatic peace.

This is my yoga…..

About the Author

Despite a decade of Catholic school, I have never been a believer. I guess I was just born without the gene! Nevertheless, I've always tried to explore others' ideas and practices, on the theory that just because you can't use one part of a product, it doesn't mean you have to throw the whole thing away.
 
I spent over a decade traveling the world, and I've lived in both Europe and the US. I've read the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Koran. I've studied engineering, yoga, martial arts, shooting sports, and ballroom dancing. What I've discovered is that a) spirituality is just a spooky sounding word for any of a number of methods for learning about yourself and your mind, and b) whatever word you use, doing so is the single most important thing in learning to be happy.
 
My blog, The Passionate Rationalist (http://www.societyofreason.com/devoutrationalist) is dedicated to my thoughts both on gaining self-knowledge and using your mind to eliminate misunderstanding and delusion.