In the Chassidic tradition, which is part of the Jewish tradition, joy is emphasized, that God’s very presence is diminished when there is depression. Nowhere is this more evident than on the holiday of Purim, that celebrates the events of the Book of Esther. On this remarkable holiday where we wear masks and are advised to become intoxicated with the Divine (and drink more than usual), we are supposed to rise above the duality and confusion of this world and be joyous beyond reason, above reason.
In our overly rational world, we seem to need a reason for everything. But, have we ever stopped to think, why not be joyful even though you have no reason? Why do we need one? Let’s face it, we don’t really understand most of the events of our lives until we can see them in retrospect, often times finding out that some of the worst events of our lives were some of the most important and meaningful in giving our lives context and meaning.
So, why not just decide to be joyful now? I know, it sounds hard, but we know that even smiling though there is nothing seemingly to smile about affects your brain chemistry in a way that makes you feel better. What about expressing joy with your whole being? Can you imagine what that would do for your health? Just give it a try, we are all familiar with the case of Norman Cousins who laughed his disease away. Joy heals and depression does the opposite. You must fight for it because our bodies and our minds will try and sabotage you, but inside is that still small voice that is urging you to fight and reclaim your joy. If you spend your whole life waiting for some thing, some circumstance, some event to bring you joy, that is no more logical than just deciding right now to be joyful. Can you remember what your body felt like when you were last joyful? I know you can, why not just decide right now to bring some of that into your life right now. I can feel my pulse quickening, how about you?