In the forty-eight synonyms lists for happy, joy does not appear.

Happy and joy are not synonyms.

Happy comes and goes; joy is steady and reliable. Happy depends upon the external circumstances of my life conforming to my wishes. Joy can be present no matter what may be happening in my life situation.

Happy is enmeshed with what is going on. Happy is bound up with likes and dislikes. It functions purely on the feeling level. It is present when things feel good; it sneaks quietly away when things are difficult and circumstances are harsh. Happy is related to small “l” life. It is tied to the forms in which life is manifest.

Joy functions in the realm of big “L” Life. Joy is connected to that vast unchanging Life Force that spiritual traditions call “God.” Joy transcends happenstance; it lives beyond the constant push and pull of likes and dislikes. It flows from the deep well-spring of Life that surges through all life forms but is not dependent upon any external manifestation.

I connect to joy when I live more lightly in relationship to what is going on in my life. Joy emerges when I surrender my need for my circumstances to be a certain way.

My desire for “happy” keeps me stuck on the surface. Demanding “happy” I lose touch with the depths in which abiding joy resides.

How can I move from my desire for “happy” to the recognition of joy?