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To find out who we are—especially to find our joy—we’ll try just about anything.
I have been thinking a lot over the last decade or so about who I am, who I want to be and where my joy is. I’ve been proactive about it, too. I’ve seen multiple practitioners, gone to therapy, read books, taken classes, visited healers, prayed, cried, beat my pillows and screamed for the answers.
I imagine many people are in similar situations.
We search for the answer through long-term meditation groups, journaling retreats, oracles and special spiritual processes to become more ourselves (or at least to touch upon the Divine).
We make dietary changes, fast, draw yantras and special symbols during certain phases of the moon.
We might even burn wishes as we spray our homes with strange oils or burn candles and smelly herbs while chanting ancient spells or mantras whose meaning we’re not even sure about.
For me, these practices always seemed to miss the mark, but I could never pinpoint why. I thought that surely I was doing something wrong. I could feel that I was changing for the better, but the answers hadn’t come and I certainly didn’t feel joyful.
There was always another level, another mantra, a certain crystal to buy, another process or retreat. I tried many of these things and I asked a lot of questions of many teachers. I even begged for healing from charlatans who made lofty promises. I read more books and—finally—I gave up. I put all of these things away, because through it all, there was only silence.
I didn’t understand right away that the silence was the most important clue to finding my joy.
I used to think that joy was an exuberance. I thought that it was that high energy we feel when we are elated. I thought joy was loud. Of course, elation is an ephemeral height. It changes like the seasons and cannot be eternally sustained.
The calmness found in silence is sustainable, and it can be carried through every emotion, with practice, by way of the breath.
When I began to take time to focus on my breathing, I realized that the silence was the answer.
Focusing inward and just listening to the breath helped me to find a certain calm I didn’t know I was capable of. I no longer had to search for my joy.
There it was, inside me.
All I needed was to remember to breathe.
Author: Tameca L. Coleman
Apprentice Editor: Jaimee Guenther / Editor: Toby Israel