Tears of Joy

There is a happiness that is higher than all other happiness, a joy that is greater than all other joy, and when we experience this highest joy and happiness, we do not smile, nor do we laugh; we cry sweet tears of joy. We reach a state where all desires are either met, or whither away in unimportance. People sometimes experience these tears of joy when attending the wedding of two beloved friends. The experience is so rich and wonderful that it simply could not be improved, all personal desires evaporate, and tears of overflowing joy pour out of us like a bucket held under a waterfall.

The key to the richness of this ultimate joy and happiness is that our personal desires have been eliminated, we are in a state of absolute peace and contentment and we want for nothing unless it be the joy of others.

There is a Chinese saying that, "Those who know that they have enough, are rich." This saying dovetails well with a wonderful Aboriginal saying that, "The more you know, the less you need." The knowledge in question, that will overcome our needs, is a knowledge of ourselves and the ability to differentiate between our actual needs (that have almost invariably already been met) and our wants or desires, for the better we understand ourselves, the more control we will have over our lives, and the happier, more peaceful, content and richer we will be.

Lowest Despair

A few years before I met Chief Fools Crow there was a time when I found myself in deep despair. A friend named Ed (who later became my first spiritual teacher) stopped by for a visit. Ed asked me how I was doing in a gentle enough way that I did not feel compelled to politely answer that I was doing "great" and instead, I confessed that I was feeling very frustrated and depressed. Ed consoled me for a bit, but then he suggested something completely unexpected. He said, "This will sound crazy, but maybe your problem is that you are not depressed enough." I said that I agreed that his suggestion did sound crazy and he said, "Try this: Try to see if you can sink deeper into your despair. Rather than trying to claw your way to the surface, let yourself sink even lower. Accept that this is a time to be in despair, and experience it fully and deeply." I, somewhat reluctantly, accepted Ed's advice, stopped trying to claw my way out of my despair, stopped trying to avoid my despair, and instead tried to go in the other direction and experience it fully and consciously.

To my complete surprise, once I stopped attempting to resist and desperately claw my way out of despair and instead accepted it, and chose to experience it fully, it became transformed. It stopped being painful, or even unpleasant, and it was transformed into a completely peaceful state of low energy, an odd form of ecstasy.

Thus it seems that the highest joy and happiness occurs when we let go of all desires, and that letting go of all desires and expectations can take us from the deepest low to a state of ecstasy. So why do we allow our desires to still control us so? How can we learn to tell ourselves, "Enough!"

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