It is remarkable that the idea and phrase "Life is Joy" is not a thumb-greased truism. Though every one knows it, nine people out of ten would dispute it. They are confusing Life with the events that occur in it. Yet it is the man who has the life; the events are only a panorama that unfolds before him. And every one knows that the more life he has the more he enjoys himself. His joy is proportionate to his life. The pleasure or pain he gets out of events is due to the fact that those events do actually — or bid fair to — increase or diminish his amount of life.
Sensation calls out life from its deeps, and then wastes it. Men know, seek, and welcome the first phenomenon; the second they know imperfectly or not at all. They get the joy and forget the reaction. So they make bad habits many, many incarnations old, and cannot get over them without great difficulty; or think they cannot, which comes to the same thing.
The search for joy is really the search for life, and is perfectly legitimate under certain conditions. Expressed in terms of joy, it is legitimate when the joy obtained has no back flavor of bitterness, and does not involve a reaction. In terms of life, it is legitimate when the life is not called out to be wasted — that is, when the process is not in reality a step to death.
Whether physical or spiritual, joy appears to be a burning more brightly of that consciousness which lives at the heart.
The Hindus express the supreme condition by one tripartite word — Sat-chid-ananda, meaning Being-Consciousness-Joy; but I think they did not recognize the possibility of the maintenance of this while in ordinary life on earth.
We need not wait on events to get joy. If we do, we must necessarily have sorrow when the joy-bringing event is departed. Joy is full of tones, and they must all be sounded; else the vehicle (man) gets exhausted. Lighting up joy in the heart begets joy in others; they give answer with their note; the thrill passes and repasses, to and fro, and the double overtones make rich chords that ever and ever enrich themselves by provocation in other men.
If a man sounds only the note of his lower, personal nature (i.e., seeks sensation) his bodily vehicle must become exhausted; he is breeding himself in and in, and must become spiritually cretinistic.
It must be a good thing to practice making joy in the heart, independently of events, thinking "Life is Joy." No success may seem to come for a long time, but, in the odd moments of attempt each day, power is gathering, and one day the man will find he has a great measure of it, so that his heart will feel actually as if there were a warm gold flame in it. It may go away in a few minutes, but if he goes on it will gradually become permanent and shine into all his duties. Even for those few minutes he has got beyond personality, got to know something of what the soul (which he is then beginning to become, a god-soul) is like, and what the world-heart is like.
It was said, "The Deity geometrizes." This was the world-mind; the world-heart energizes in all-productive love; the geometry is the conditioning form of its energy. Study the form last or you wither, but man has ultimately to reach both. Wisdom, Love and Joy must be our trinity of attainment, and they are comprehended in Life.