The capacity that humans have to choose joy in the midst of despair, pain, depression and tragedy is a constant astonishment to me. It also reinforces my personal belief that joy is a baseline state which is available to all of us at any moment. When I speak of joy in those difficult times I am not speaking of a giddy Pollyanna like state of denial, but an awareness of the world outside ourselves: the beauty, an unexpected moment of relief, a deep breath, a cool drink of water.
Perhaps this gives me away as a practitioner of Zen.
And perhaps a lifetime experience of joy within the context of those very painful states is what brought me, eventually, to the practice of Zen!
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joy ~ caliroe