It was in the late summer of 1967 that I first visited the land that was to become Ananda. August is hot in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains of Northern California, and we had spent all day working hard. I was part of a little group of Swami Kriyananda’s students who had come to help him build Ananda’s first structure, a small geodesic dome that was to serve as a temple.

At that time, Ananda communities were only a future dream for Swami. In this first year, he was simply trying to create a forest retreat where people could get away from their busy lives to learn and practice the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.

Finding joy under all circumstances. Joy is the solution. From A Touch of Light blog.We had spent the day trying to erect the dome from thin wooden struts covered with plastic, but we were about to discover that the material we were using was too light for a building of this size. Just before sunset, the building began to sag, then suddenly collapsed at our feet in a pile of fragments. There was nothing to be done but have a light dinner, meditate, spread our sleeping bags out on the bare ground, and go to sleep.

In the morning I heard Swami murmuring to himself, and assumed that he was trying to come to terms with the disaster of the day before. But as I listened more closely, I could hear him repeating over and over, “Ah joy, ah joy!”

It had a profound effect on me, because at that moment I realized that Swami Kriyananda actually lived the truths he taught. Our moods can be under the control of our mind. Joy did not depend upon pleasant circumstances. Like the air we breathe, it simply was there, and we could choose to feel it or ignore it.

Some nine years later a fire destroyed virtually all the houses in our fledgling community. As one response, Swami Kriyananda and a merry band toured the United States on what we called the “Joy Tours”: programs filled with music, classes, and laughter. A slogan used during those tours was, “Joy is the solution, not the reward.” Again, it was a statement that we can choose to respond to misfortune either by expanding into joy or contracting into suffering.

The simple phrase, “Joy is the solution, not the reward,” holds the key to a happy and successful life. Live with joy. Claim it as your divine birthright. Don’t wait for anyone or anything to make you happy. If you cede that power to anything outside yourself, you also give it the right to make you unhappy. Or worried. Or angry. Or everything else you don’t want.

I learned a great lesson that summer morning in 1967, and again after the fire. Joy is a choice. It is something I try to choose at the end of each meditation and whenever I can throughout the day. When I do, I gain the power to smile at problems and laugh with life.

In joy,
Nayaswami Jyotish

17 Comments

  1. Dear Jis
    Wonderful Message. Thanks for sharing.
    With Gratitude
    R Sundararajan

  2. Ah joy – ah joy ……..
    Ulimate joy occurs when we always wish to receive Positive Energy, it is sure that Negativity attack with full force to depress and makes mindless.
    At that time the Clear Vision with Selfless service counts s lot i.e grow with Self-Confidence which will create a Rainbow around the humanbeings……..
    And I will loud ” Ah joy – ah joy ”
    Eagerly waiting to inhale your experiences when I was faceing little bit sadness but now I am very Joyful person. Ananda Sangha, Pune is calling me back, Yes I will be there soon.
    Let us create joy for everbody…….but be attaintive

  3. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
    Thank you for the Article :)
    Wonderful message. Lets go with the Choice of “Joy” always :)
    Aum,
    Prem

  4. Great timing, this is just what I needed this morning. Thank you.

  5. Timely and much appreciated!
    Joy!
    Joy!!
    Joy!!!

  6. ahh joy! It really is the solution to all problems. Rather than contracting the moment suffering comes, when we feel and expand into joy, all of a sudden magic takes over. Thank you Jyotish.

  7. beautiful. Thank you, Jotish. I needed this so much!
    Pat

  8. Dear Jyotish ji,
    Thank you! very helpful article.with joy and gratitude.

  9. Dear Jyotish Ji , Wonderful message, that’s very much needed for our lives. So Joyful even to read it that there’s this solution for all problems.
    Thank you Ji

  10. Blessings for sharing your profound words of wisdom. They are greatly appreciated.

  11. Dear Jyotish, words, again, are inadequate. I’m waiting for Treta Yuga so I can send thought pictures-more reliable. Oh, maybe I won’t be back here for Treta, God willing. Your sharing today, July 4th and the sharing of all my fellow ‘old time’ gurubhais was beautiful. I believe, with all my heart that Joy is the Solution. In meditation and in everything I do. As always, thank you for the most timely reminder. Please keep me in your prayers for now, work stress is intense. Not with clients but with co-workers and the Nevada County Tea Party as our upstairs tenants. I give thanks beyond measure for this path-what else is there-nothing but God. In deep gratitude and joy, steve

  12. Dearest Jyotish,
    Bless you!
    Joy Joy, ever New Joy!
    ~~~Peace, Josette

  13. I am feeling spiritually elevated with these blogs of Ananda directors Reverred Jyotish and Devi.A bundle of thanks from the bottom of my heart and I hope this service will continue for the benefit of society.Thanks and regards.

  14. Thank you — I recently had an opportunity to practice this. While with family in the Bay Area — my car was vandalized and suitcase stolen from it. I consciously chose the high road. I embraced the kindness of the policeman taking the report, my dear nephew and his wife who arose from bed and swept up the glass fragments and created a makeshift hatch window from layers packaging tape so I could drive the 3 hours home, on a Sunday, the prompt actions and kindness of my insurance agent, and best of all — detachment from the stolen suitcase and its contents. (the value of which was less than my $500 deductible) I also prayed for the perpetrators. Whenever old thoughts of victimization would start to bubble up — I just felt joy at the many kindnesses I experienced thru this.
    Finally – by facing this misfortune “the new way” — deep memories of situations where I had RE-acted differently in the past — bubbled to the surface for healing. Truly, new conscious actions untie old karmic knots.
    Thank you for the ripples you all send out.
    Marcela

  15. Thanks for reminding me to chose Joy. :-)
    “our moods can be under the control of our mind” …..
    This is the goal
    Wiht divine Love
    Aastha

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