On my second day in my study of joy, I went to a hot yoga class. At the end of class, the instructor gave this blessing: “Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu.” She translated it as:
“All universe existing now…All beings that share that location…Centered in happiness, joy and free from suffering…The divine mood or state of unified existence…May it be so.”
A slightly more accessible translation I found is, “may all beings everywhere be free happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.” Hmmm, I thought. A unified, connected existence. Joy. What is the connection?
At dinner with friends that night, I asked a wise eight-year-old how she would define joy. Here is her answer: “Joy for me is a happiness, an easiness. It doesn’t seem like work. And it’s not feeling alone.”
Ah, wisdom from the mouths of babes. There is joy in not feeling alone. So I began to ponder if we are all more likely to find joy when we’re feeling connected to someone (ourselves, loved ones, humanity) or something (our bodies, nature, our spirit). Does joy exist without a feeling of connection to something, or is it the wonder, appreciation and celebration of that connectedness that brings about joy?