Blissful Joy In Service

By Lisa Templeton, Ph.D.

“Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served but all other pleasures pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in the spirit of joy.” -Mohandas Gandhi


     I have spoken a lot about being sure to care for yourself and work to fill your own cup so that it can run over to others.  I have found that sometimes one needs to give in the spirit of joy in order to truly fill one’s own cup.   This sounds a bit contradicting, but it is not.  We need to understand that when we give to others with a joyful heart, we receive in kind.  When we choose not to give or give in reticence, there is no joy, only resentment and/or fear of inevitable lack.

     I once spoke to a massage therapist who said that when she really gives a massage to another in joy and openness, she herself feels as though she just received a massage.  When we are filled and give of our full cup willingly and openly, we ourselves continue to be filled.  When we are empty and still give out of obligation or other reasons, we are depleted.

     When considering the spirit of joy, an important factor is generosity of heart.  If we are not giving, we are likely afraid of not having enough or falling into lack because we have given too much.  A recipe for joy is to offer oneself to another, opening our hearts and sharing our light with others.   That takes incredible vulnerability to give of oneself, yet it brings about the most joy.  To give in joy is to receive in bliss.

     Consider times in your life when you have experienced joy.  In exploring this experience, notice that there is a reciprocal give and take exchange often occurring.  Sometimes just smiling at another person can bring about much joy in that small exchange.  If I am walking outside alone and notice a beautiful tree in nature, I am receiving the beauty of the tree and the tree is receiving my awe and joy in that moment.   In listening to music, I am receiving the sounds and then giving back my joy as I listen.

     To be joyful is to be connected.  One cannot be joyful and be separate in the world.  Additionally, to be joyful is also to be mindful and in the present moment.  We can’t feel joy if we are not there to experience it.  Allow yourself to connect with anything today – even staying present and connected with the cupcake you are biting into can give you a bit of brief joy as you receive the amazing flavors.  Try connecting with nature and/or another person and give a token of kindness to them, perhaps a smile or something of small value.  What we put out into the world comes back around to us again.

     I invite you to participate in the collective meditation taking place on May 24th at 10am-10:10am.  In preparation for this meditation, please try filling you own cup and giving in joy to another person in need.  Let your heart open and see this other person as an extension of yourself.  Remember that you do not have to give something of monetary value, just a smile, a bit of kindness, a prayer and/or light with no expectations of anything in return, just a knowing that you are connected and that you are part of this world, as we all are.  When participating in the meditation, draw on what this experience feels like and be the spirit of joy along with others in the world participating all at the same time.  May this energy grow so that we all can learn to be kinder and more peaceful to each other in the world, starting from the spirit of joy within.