Foundational Practices for Joyful Living

Larry First Steps

What is Joyful Living and how does one live in peace, joy and love?

Joyful living is living as the peaceful, joyful, loving presence that we are when we abide as our true nature.

In my experience, most children come by this naturally if their basic needs are met.  Most of us adults have to consciously commit to growing into a way of being in life that offers lasting satisfaction—peaceful, happy and fulfilled.

Contemporary cultural life strategies for fulfillment fall short of the full flowering of peaceful, joyful, loving beings that is our birthright. Why? Because, our contemporary world culture is predominantly focused on success in the world.

Success in the world fulfills some human needs, but, we repeatedly reveal for ourselves the temporary nature of the fulfillment or happiness that worldly success offers.

We all know the experience of the waning of happiness after the party is done and all the guests go home. Or when the work project is successfully completed and we get acknowledged, we feel good until something irritates or upsets us.

Once we see clearly that worldly success doesn’t fulfill the lasting happiness our hearts are seeking, if we are fortunate enough or suffer enough, we look for a new path.

That’s when we can turn some attention away from outward goals and to our inner life.

What are the foundational practices and insights of the path of Joyful Living?

Here are the basic JLG Guidelines. All of these topics are articulated more fully in the JLG blog posts and at our Awakening Meditation Circles online and in person.

  • Turn your attention inward and engage in Self Inquiry. Self Inquiry is the process of taking a fresh look at our own nature beyond thinking and cultural norms. Its the path of the “examined life”. Self Inquiry becomes the “antidote” when we finally realize that the world of people and things will never bring us the lasting peace, joy and love for which the heart longs.
  • Make a commitment to a path that nurtures Self Inquiry and awakening to your true nature of awareness, presence or beingness.
  • Be curious about our true nature beyond thinking through Self Inquiry. Ask yourself, “Am I aware?” This begins a process of looking not at the content of life (thoughts, feelings, sensation and perceptions) but at that which knows the content.
  • Discover or create practices that move you “from head to heart”:  These are practice which nurture abiding as this knowing presence, the pure awareness you are.  Some examples of awakening practices are self inquiry, breath work, singing or humming, yoga, meditation, dance or movement, tai chi, chi gong, emotional healing, and service workWhat brings you out of thought and into flow or aware presence?
  • Find teachers, healers, books and communities that nurture awakening to our true nature.
  • Commit to abiding as the peace, joy and love you are. Know that we are living at a time when you don’t have to settle for less than the full flowering of your birthright—peace, joy and love.
  • Once committed, know that Resistance will arise when we reach to fulfill our highest nature. At minimum, the mind will resist. Expect this.
  • Listen to your heart: Know that each one of us must find our way home to our peaceful, joyful, loving hearts. Your path is of your own making. Only you can give yourself the peace, joy and love for which our hearts are yearning. It begins with a knowledge that there is something about us that needs to be uncovered.

          The uncovering of our true nature of awareness is the one experience and understanding that changes everything. Your birthright is peace, joy and love.

This is the path, the journey of Joyful Living!