Our Capacity for Joy

Most of us don’t take the time to disconnect. 

To sit and relax by taking a few deep breaths. To close our eyes and meditate or reflect on our lives and just how precious, delicate and incredible it truly is.  

Life races by while we are on auto-pilot, never fully present.

It’s usually not until something devastating happens that we really get a wake up call. That our senses and emotions kick into high gear and we begin to consciously think about our lives and its impermanence. 

Life. is. Impermanent.

We know that nothing lasts forever, that all good things come to an end. 

Yet, we take those good things for granted and before we know it, they’re gone. Never having truly appreciated it. Never having intentionally set aside the time to just exist and mindfully contemplate over how grateful we are for what we do have. 

With the recent death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter and the other people that were on board the helicopter that crashed in California, grief has reverberated throughout the world. 

Powerful shock waves of life’s impermanence and times of cruelty have pulsated through our mind, body and soul, forcing us to confront the hard truth that we own and control next to nothing in this world. 

And it’s in these times of realization that we come alive, fully present and alert, and start to focus on what’s truly important in this concept we call life. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

We can become more present in our waking moments. We can stop taking what’s valuable to us for granted and start appreciating and loving more, both big and small. We can begin to feel how lucky we are for life and cherish waking up each day, being able to breathe, smile, laugh, hug, speak, hear, walk, feel, see. 

Through the practice of both positive and negative visualization, we can achieve all of this. And when we decide it’s finally time to engage in and pursue this technique that dates back to thousands of years ago, we can do something that every human being consciously or unconsciously strives for. 

We can increase our capacity for joy. 

“By contemplating the impermanence of everything in the world, we are forced to recognize that every time we do something could be the last time we do it, and this recognition can invest the things we do with a significance and intensity that would otherwise be absent.” – William B. Irvine