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by Colleen Benelli
First Published in Reiki News Magazine, Winter 2011.
Artwork by Gaia Orion.
There are many types of joy. Some contain feelings and expressions, others are states of being. A person can have feelings and expressions of joy and not be in the state of being in joy, and a person can have the state of being in joy, and not have feelings of joy. Sometimes we have both the feelings and the state of being in joy at the same time.
Joy can be a state of being that can coincide with the feelings of joy, but is not dependent on the feeling. It is much deeper than a feeling. A feeling can be determined by outside influences and life experiences. The state of being is there regardless of how you feel. It would be unrealistic to think you will not have feelings that do not contain joy at many times in your life. Death, illness, poverty, crime, abuse, joblessness, etc. can cause a person to feel distraught; to feel grief, pain and fear. However, a person can have those external feelings, yet still have joy in his or her heart. It is an inner truth in your heart that love is the core of who you are—no matter what: no matter how you feel or what you are experiencing.
I was told by my Reiki guides that this article describes how to be in a state of joy. This involves developing the skills and actions in our daily life that help us achieve this goal. Reiki is a tool that provides techniques and a style of practice that teaches us about joy directly from its divine source. The Reiki symbols align us with the same source that elevates our perceptions about the meaning of joy. Then we learn and act from the source of joy itself rather than preconceived ideas about joy.
I have noticed in my Reiki sessions that my clients often feel confused about the meaning of joy in their lives. They have a belief that joy is a feeling of happiness and if they don’t feel happy then they don’t have joy. This belief can be a source of injury to their self-image that needs healing. Often, their expectation is that they should be able to “feel happy” in every moment regardless of what is happening in their lives. And some of them are having some pretty rough moments. When they don’t live up to their expectation, they can feel as if they have failed in fulfilling the “happiness and joy” requirement they have set up for themselves, and this can create fear.
Healing takes place when the joy within is revealed as the light and love in their heart. It has been there all along, but it was not acknowledged because it was not labeled as the feeling of happiness. This is often due to a misunderstanding that joy only has one expression.
a. Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.
b. The expression or manifestation of such feeling.
2. A source or an object of pleasure or satisfaction: their only child, their pride and joy.
To take great pleasure; rejoice.
1. To fill with ecstatic happiness, pleasure, or satisfaction.
2. To enjoy.
We all love when we experience great feelings of happiness. Feeling happy is the best, and is what we all hope for. However, the definition of joy as a feeling of happiness can create limitations. The feeling is only one level of joy. At this level the feeling is often determined by external circumstances. When we confine the definition of joy to a feeling of happiness it becomes a very narrow interpretation of the true power of joy within us: the power to live and act with love, respect, compassion and humanity no matter how we feel.
Reiki has brought healing to many of my clients’ issues about joy. Reiki lifts their spirit to find that just because they don’t feel happy in the moment, they still have joy in their heart. The meaning of joy expands from a temporary emotion to a whole state of being. The state of being recognizes another level of joy to experience. At this level, deep love in their heart is revealed. It lives with them right next to their emotions, feelings and struggles. This kind of joy is often expressed through their loving actions. The actions represent their joy. The healing that takes place from this understanding releases people’s fear that feeling unhappy means they are “not doing it right,” and the healing empowers them to realize that “who they are right now is good enough—emotions and all.” This allows them to look at their emotions and frees them to be honest about how they really feel. When a person is honest with his or her emotions, it gives clarity about the situation and helps one find good solutions.
“Whenever you’re not willing to experience an emotion, your life is then run by your resistance to that emotion.” ~Raphael Cushnir
Reiki reveals the joy within a person gently and easily. If a person needs to experience her emotions before she can recognize her joy, Reiki can increase her awareness so she can see her emotions from a spiritual perspective, which usually decreases her emotional pain. Reiki can also heal the emotions without the person re-experiencing them if that is not what she wants. As the pain is softened, her joy becomes more visible, like a light shining in the dark. Reiki strengthens the light, and it becomes a powerful force.
If you are not attuned to the symbols I describe in this session, use the ones you are attuned to or do the exercise without symbols if you haven’t received them yet. Reiki knows what to do and will do it for you. This session is for use with others and for self-Reiki. The intention of the session is to release old thought patterns that have trapped the person into believing he or she does not have joy if she is not happy, and to empower the true joy one has so the joy that is present within can be experienced. The intention is also to clarify the actions the person is already using and the ones she needs to take to express love and joy.
When joy is revealed people seem to literally lighten up—as if a huge burden is lifted from their shoulders. They change their minds about their lives and see how often they contribute to the wellness of themselves and the others around them. The truth about their actions is shown to them as joy. Their priorities seem to be clear. The vibration of joy has flowed through their bodies and vitalized their spirit. Their spirit is awake and present for them to see. They are in the state of joy.
Jim, a close friend passed away from cancer earlier this year. His wife Brenda and I have been friends since we were thirteen. I have learned a lot about having joy at the same time as grief from Jim’s passing. I have watched my friend Brenda put one foot in front of the other and take care of herself and others in this terrible time of grief. Her actions have been consistent and loving. She is still considerate of others and kind. She is staying in touch with her emotions and taking care of herself and business. She has gratitude for all that is still good in her life, for her children and grandchildren, family, friends, home, and work. I watch her struggle with her grief and with the adjustment to the loss of her husband and to being alone after 35 years of being together. She has had her Reiki attunements, and although she doesn’t practice Reiki, she seems to instinctively use the Reiki Ideals. She decides each day to let go of anger and worry, to be in gratitude and to be devoted to her work. And she is very kind to others. When her fifteen-year-old niece broke up with her first boyfriend, Brenda told her to do something kind for someone else—that it always works for her to alleviate her grief. So, together, they took flowers and a card to another friend who had just lost her brother…just to be thoughtful. Brenda is aware that this is the joy inside of her. Her actions are what she uses to express her joy even though her grief is terrible and so hard. I am inspired by her all the time, and she sets an example for us all. Even though she doesn’t feel happy, she knows she is happy inside. And she always talks about how much she has to be grateful for and means it.
I have also experienced a lot of loss and many changes this past year. I am so grateful that I have Reiki to help me through it all and to continue to show me the joy inside. I often wonder how people live without Reiki to help them manage their lives. I feel so blessed, as Reiki will simply enter into my day and help me through the rough times. Somehow, I suddenly seem to be able to shift my perceptions to a nicer, kinder thought. On the days I feel overwhelmed, my priorities show up in front of me and I have the stamina to take the actions I need to take.
But I admit I have had to work through my feelings of grief and being unhappy, and I have had to “be devoted to my work” as a skill and a method of taking actions that lead me to my inner joy. I have also been honest with myself about my emotions—allowing that in the circumstances, it is reasonable to feel sad some days. I miss my friend Jim a lot and still grieve for him. Some of the changes in my life have been really big and are huge adjustments. It would be strange to not feel my emotions, and I am not so sure that I would want to not feel them. They are a part of life, although they are uncomfortable and really hurt sometimes.
However, I still feel joy and see the good things in life. Sometimes the contrast between joy and sadness is fascinating as I feel them both at the same time. I am able to step back and observe the love underneath it all. I do live in a state of joy in all of the moments, even the crummy ones.
“Joy, rather than happiness, is the goal of life, for joy is the emotion which accompanies our fulfilling our natures as human beings. It is based on the experience of one’s identity as a being of worth and dignity.” ~ Rollo May
I absolutely credit Reiki with making life easier during this time. Reiki is such a gift. I love that it will help just because I have asked. It doesn’t require more than an invitation from me and gives unconditionally. I receive joy from the divine source of joy and I don’t have to do it all myself. There is help around me and all I have to do is ask, and I will receive.
Colleen Benelli can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 503.912.0664, on her website at www.reikilifestyle.wpengine.com, or on her Facebook page, Reiki Lifestyle-Colleen Benelli. Join Colleen’s monthly ReikiChat™ conversation, www.reikichat.com.