Updated: Sep 13, 2019
They say it’s your birthright. And they’re right.
Joy is not your birthright.
Joy is your very nature.
This is not your due.
This is WHO YOU ARE.
If this is the case…
Why do I feel anything but?
Why do I feel overwhelmed?
Why do I feel depressed?
Why do I feel anxious?
Why do I feel unfulfilled, agitated, unsettled?
If I AM JOY, why do I not FEEL joy?
[you may be asking]
Well, it’s simple really…
The answer has to do with concealment.
Here’s the deal:
Imagine you had the most beautiful Monet painting.
And upon that painting you…
Splattered some black paint.
Added a swath or two of brown.
Dribbled some green.
Splotched some purple.
And smeared a blob of gray.
And on and on you went…
Until the original painting had been covered over.
Is the beauty of the Monet gone?
Of course not.
Can the beauty of the Monet be experienced?
Not a chance.
And so it goes with the beauty of the joy that you are.
It is alive and well.
It is perfect and peaceful.
It is waiting to be experienced.
Beneath all of the things that you do.
Beneath the layers of…
Yes, nearly everything we do
(including the things we do to experience joy)
prevents us from experiencing the joy that we crave.
(Ironic, I know)
But it’s not your fault.
You (and just about all of us) have been misled.
We’ve been taught that the formula for finding joy
(or happiness or fulfillment or satisfaction)
is through more, not less.
And so we paint…
We paint on a new relationship.
We paint on a new job.
We paint an island vacation.
We paint a snazzy new car.
We paint a triumph for our favorite social cause.
Layer after layer. We paint. Hoping that somehow…
That supreme and lasting joy and beauty will be revealed.
But here’s the thing:
In the same way that you can’t paint your way back to the beauty of the Monet.
And that every layer of paint only serves to cover it more completely…
You can’t struggle your way to the joy that you are.
Because every layer of struggle only serves to cover it more completely…
To put it another way:
If you want to experience the beauty of the Monet,
you must REMOVE the concealing layers of paint.
If you want to experience the joy that you are,
you much REMOVE the concealing layers of distraction.
In yoga we have a term that points to this folly: Kosha.
Kosha means sheath or covering.
And the various koshas, the ancient masters teach,
must be lifted if we are to experience the joy and perfection THAT WE ARE.
This is the gift that yoga can bestow.
Not to stretch.
Not to sweat.
Not to get that foot behind your cotton-pickin’ head.
But rather, to reveal the truth…
of your innate happiness.
of your perfect peacefulness.
of your always already joyful nature.
Yoga gifts us with the wisdom to find our way home.
Together with the tools we need to make the journey.
[The same gift, by the way, that all great religions and spiritual traditions seek to provide us]
So, in this season of joy,
I invite you to come home.
Rather than seeking joy through all of…
Take some time…
Find some quiet.
Dip beneath the layers.
And come home to bask in the joy that you are. Now and forever more.
And from THERE…
Go out into the world.
Love your family.
Do your work.
Buy the things.
Teach the children.
Make the money.
Share your gifts.
And live your life.
This is how everything changes.
With so much ❤️,
About the Author
Eric Walrabenstein is a nationally-recognized speaker, teacher, and author and is one of the most sought-after authorities on the application of yogic technology for self healing and empowerment in the nation. As the founder of Yoga Pura, one of Arizona’s largest yoga centers, Eric has long been dedicated to making ancient wisdom and techniques practical and relevant for people from all walks of life. In addition to his work in his wellness center in Phoenix, Arizona, he is the creator of BOOTSTRAP, a yoga-based program to help troops and veterans heal from post traumatic stress as well as BrightLife, a mental fitness program designed to help people leave behind trauma, addictions, and a wide range of challenges. An ordained Yogacharya (preceptor of yoga), Eric's new book, Waging Inner Peace is available on Amazon.