Here Comes the Sun
It's a beautiful morning here as I write this. I say 'as I write this' because living here in the Northwest we know that at any moment it could cloud over or rain. I haven't looked at the forecast for today - not that that always helps - but right now looking out of my window it looks wonderful out - and I am looking forward to getting at least a little 'outside time' today.
Spring officially started last week, and this morning it really feels like it. It is hard not to feel joyful as we experience this time.
In the practice of 'Mudita' we are encouraged to cultivate joy in our lives. Mudita is often translated as 'sympathetic joy,' or joy in the joy of others - but that can be misleading. Mudita is joy in the well-being of all beings - including yourself. It is that wellspring of joy deep down that is neither selfish nor jealous, and that isn't conditional on things going well.
Mudita is one of the four Brahma Viharas, sometimes described as the 'Heavenly Abodes.' To me the important thing here is that they are 'abodes' - places you live, not places you visit.
I'll repeat that - Joy is not a state that we should just visit when things are sunny in our lives. It is a place we should be working to dwell in permanently, regardless of what is going on in our lives.
And of course that is hard. We all have a tendency to lose our joy when things get tough. And that is why we do the practice.
So I'd like to suggest a little re-framing. When the weather is sunny and beautiful don't be joyful because it is sunny and beautiful - instead use it as a reminder to live in joy. That way when the inevitable clouds come you can remain in that joy.
I have linked below a fully-guided thirty-minute meditation on cultivating joy. If you like feel free to incorporate it in your practice however you wish. A few of us have committed to press 'play' at 7pm PT on Sunday - you are welcome to join us then if you wish.