“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
As opposed to fun or pleasure, joy comes from your soul. Before you run away screaming this is just some esoteric bullshit, think about the following. There are activities in your life that you enjoy. When you think back at the end of the day, you are happy that you have done these things. Not because others think it is good you did them, not because you gained anything from the activities, you are solely happy because you have done them. For example, when you look at somebody and you are eager to get to know this person. Or you hear a song playing and you fall in love with it. Or you see Antonio Banderas dancing tango and you wish you could wake the same passion up in you. Here are a few activities that bring joy for me: dancing, teaching someone, connecting with a stranger for the first time etc. The activities that I truly love doing are the first source that brings me joy.
The second source of joy is gratitude. There are loads of people, who are concentrated on the bad things in life. They complain a lot, they hate other people and they never or rarely take responsibility for their own actions. I used to be such a guy and this guy is still a part of me. Now I understand though that complaining is a matter of choice and interpretation. I can concentrate on my negative feelings, give them credit and see the world and my life as a horrible place. Or I can give credit to my positive feelings and try to see the world as a beautiful place. Both approaches are foolish. I want to concentrate on what I appreciate and want to do and not how I want to feel. Once I keep my eyes open I see opportunities to do the things that I want to do. I appreciate these actions and the circumstances that allowed me to do these actions.
The big problem that I see that I rarely do things that cause me joy. That is I rarely exercise gratitude and engage in activities that give me joy. Why? Because I learned that the world is a horrible place and I have to fight and struggle to get by. Also, I learned that the activities that give me joy are childish and unnecessary. Now I want to I ignore these concepts and start doing whatever makes me happy. These two steps are crucial for reaching happiness.
It is important to note here that joy does not equal pleasure. This latter comes from pleasing your body sensors by giving them a pleasurable experience. A bodily experience is, for example, eating a chocolate cake or fucking without a condom. Pleasure passes and what stays is body fat and an unwanted pregnancy or STDs. Life teaches you this simply that joy is long term and instant gratificaton cannot bring it. I have a vague understanding of true joy but in my interpretation Buddha talks about a pure soul. A human being that acts on the true intentions of the soul. That is when I practice gratitude and act based on my intuition. This act is for the sake of action and experience as opposed to getting a prize for this activity.
As I rarely feel joy in my life and I do not practice gratitude. I want to engage in more activities that I truly enjoy and practice gratitude.