2. Frequent attacks of joy, unexplained smiling and random bursts of laughter.

I am not what you might call a jolly person. I am not given to “unexplained smiling and random bursts of laughter.” But, what I think this second of “12 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening” is asking me to see is that, as I grow in my inner life, I will sit more lightly to much that goes on in the time-bound material realm. I will take myself less seriously and live more lightly in the limited dimension of circumstance. Things that once seemed overwhelming, begin to appear in a different light. I am less burdened by seriousness and drama.

Things happen. Most things are not the end of the world. There are few ditches really worth dying in. As I learn to live more deeply from within, I live more lightly and gently in the often confusing and bewildering realities we all inhabit.

Jesus spoke of the spiritual life as a hidden treasure. He said,

‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.(Matthew 13:44)

Joy does not come from orchestrating the circumstances of life to turn out the way I am determined they should. My scheming, strategizing, and pushing for my agenda are not the path to joy. My machinations bring smiles to no one’s face.

Joy comes from discovering within myself the hidden treasure of light, truth, and wisdom that is the presence of God in the depths of my being. This inner reality exists independent of circumstance. It does not depend upon life unfolding a certain way. It does not need you to like me, agree with me, or affirm my existence. It does not need to be recognized and does not seek constant affirmation. It is found in that secret place about which Jesus spoke when he instructed his followers,

whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)

The “secret” place is secret because I do not get there through any of the familiar tangible means that might be calculated to make me conventionally “happy.” The “secret” place is accessed by the subtle faculties of the heart. I am able to dwell in that secret place when I move beyond likes and dislikes and live free of my need for the world to respond to me in a certain way.

The rewards of this “secret” place do not come with all the splash and dazzle the world has to offer.

When I live from this “secret” place, I am not the victim of the constant rise and fall of circumstances in my life. I am not driven on the roller coaster of praise and blame and acclaim and censure that drives so much of the life in the external realm.

This “secret” place is the “better part” of which Jesus spoke to Martha when he said, Mary “has chosen the better part.” (Luke 1042) The beauty of this “better part” is that it “will not be taken away from her.” It is permanent, reliable, steady, and constant. There is, at the centre of my being an enduring reality that changes in circumstance cannot destroy.

Access to this “secret” place is gained through silence, stillness, and surrender. This “secret” place is the source of joy.


nb: since I started posting these “12 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening” I have been directed to their original source – please see: http://www.symptomsofinnerpeace.net/Home.html