Happiness happens when you get what you want. But if you lose what you want, you’re in pain. That’s not joy. Joy is recognizing that the universe really is wise and compassionate and that there really is purpose in your life and in the lives of all others. Joy is ignited inside of you. It’s not dependent on what occurs outside of you. Happiness is. Your joy shows you the loving parts of your personality and your pain, when you have the courage to experience it rather than exploding in anger or withdrawing emotionally or smoking or eating or watching TV or going shopping again, or engaging in any of the obsessive, compulsive, addictive behaviors that all of us are familiar with.
The frightened parts of us can come up in the blink of an eye. And we must challenge them as quickly as we can or we’ll take their perspective and feel like a victim. The strength of our commitment to spiritual growth is tested time and time again.