Live in joy,
In love,
Even among those who hate.

Live in joy,
in health,
Even among the afflicted.

Live in joy,
In peace,
Even among the troubled.

Live in joy,
Without posessions,
Like the shining ones.

For most people, Joy and happiness are the #1 thing that we strive for in our lives. Most everything we do is meant to bring us happiness, even the things we don't like. For instance, a person may go to work every day at a job they hate, so they can bring home a paycheck to pay the rent and put food on the table and make a home environment that will provide happiness. Still others do the same thing to buy luxury items or drugs or companionship that they believe will make them happy. For good or for ill, the motivation is the same. This passage gives guidance on how best to cultivate joy. It is a recipe for Metta, or loving-kindness. That calm happiness that comes from cultivating a sense of well-being toward all living things at all times. The historical Buddha is thought to have said "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world." Our state of mind can make life among those who hate or are afflicted or troubled not only bearable, but joyful. And that feeling is contagious. Being around happy, Joyful people when you're feeling blue can be kind of irritating at first, but it's hard to remain sad when surrounded by good-natured joy.

I struggle with this every day. It's hard to be mindful during the difficult times. Hardships, unfulfilled selfish desires, discomfort, sickness, ... all of these things cloud my ability to sustain a perpetual state of loving-kindness. But, when I can catch myself, put things in perspective, and be mindful of what's happening, it's amazing how those feeling just fade away. They aren't suppressed or shoved aside, they just fade away, to be replaced with simple joy. Sometimes a gentle reminder is needed and it's amazing how a cat purring in your lap at the end of a day can provide that reminder with such reliability!