Happiness is a possible quality of the personality.
Joy is a possible quality of the soul.
One of the main ideas in this discourse is that happiness very much depends on our mental and emotional attitudes, rather than it being determined by others or by external circumstances. Yet let us not get too naive about external circumstance. Success and fulfillment, along with essential qualities of detachment and acceptance, bring happiness. Certain self qualities and attitudes are essential for happiness; but harmonious circumstances can of course help as well. So external circumstances are also significant. Wealth tends to promote more happiness than poverty. A more interesting job tends to promote more happiness than a repetitive boring job. Being in a safe social environment tends to promote more happiness than being in an unsafe neighborhood. Loving parents and friends tends to promote more happiness than the opposite. So let us not kid ourselves; external circumstances are important for happiness. It is just that the external is not the only factor, since what is internal inside us is also significant.
The first principle for happiness is success, attainment, and fulfillment. This is probably obvious; yet the question remains as to what kind of success, attainment, or fulfillment brings happiness. Probably any kind will do. So all of this true, and yet some spiritual traditions teach that detachment brings happiness. This is also true. So both are true.
Find ways to be successful and fulfilled, but also be detached about it all; then this will lead to happiness. Because if one does not have enough detachment, then one will easily be disappointed when success does not come or if one's desires are not fulfilled. And also one will tend to be anxiously worrying about success and fulfillment, unless one has detachment as a core principle. So really both are needed.
Another core principle for happiness is acceptance. In a way, this goes along with detachment, even though it sounds quite different. Detachment is almost a kind of 'don't care about it so much' indifference. It is also an ability to let go things and outcomes easily. While acceptance is a kind of 'whatever is alright' attitude. This kind of accepting attitude is very favorable for happiness. What might be seen as an occasional failure, a set-back, or something not working out as well as expected, will be accepted as alright, ok, or maybe one even is grateful for the learning experience. So again, this furthers happiness. And since happiness is pretty nice to have, it makes sense to develop these qualities and attitudes that further happiness.
Next let us consider joy. Happiness is lovely, but joy is an even greater experience. Happiness is a kind of harmonious blending between our mind, emotions, body, and external circumstances. When a harmony exists between all of these; we have happiness, we have satisfaction. And of course, detachment and acceptance help bring happiness as well.
Joy is a bit different from happiness. Joy incorporates happiness, but it is not reducible to just happiness. A joyful person will of course be happy, but a happy person may not have yet achieved joy. This is because joy is a higher emotion. It is an extra step. But here is the big difference - joy comes from our soul. Many people have never even experienced real joy, or else it is quite seldom in their life. Yet, a real experience of joy is the joy of our soul. It is like this.. when everything is in going well with our personality in relation to circumstances, our personality experiences happiness, yet when our soul is fulfilled it radiates joy. Joy comes from our soul, which comes from within.
So how is our soul fulfilled? Our soul is fulfilled when we are moving along a path towards Truth, Love, Goodness, and God. This brings joy to our soul, which we then experience as a joy radiance from within. Joy is very related with love. When one is in love, joy is also experienced. So love and joy go hand in hand. What a beautiful couple. So if we can find a way to be in love, or find a way to love, then joy will follow.
If we can enter into a communion with God, then joy will follow. Even if we make a small step towards God, we feel a joy that accompanies this. If we can feel embraced by God, then joy will follow. This also has its reflections in our social world. If we step with love towards another person, or if we are embraced by another, or if we embrace another, we experience joy.
Another way to joy is through beauty. Beauty leads to joy. In fact, the essential subjective experience that determines beauty is a sense of joy, or enjoyment. So beauty brings us joy, and very often this comes from the natural world. We might visit a great museum or studio of art, or we might see a pretty face, and from this we might experience beauty and joy. But most often our joy experiences of beauty come from the natural world, from flowers, trees, lakes, oceans, creeks, mountains, and various landscapes. This in itself ought to be sufficient reason to revere and protect natural beauty.
Beauty brings joy. This is because beauty nourishes our inner spiritual soul, which then expresses joy. Beauty gives us joy; yet only when we open up to this beauty and bring it in, or at least allow it in. Then, when we bring in or allow in beauty, we experience in-joyment, more commonly spelled as enjoyment. The same with love. When we allow in love, there is enjoyment, because we have allowed this in, or opened up to this love or beauty coming into us. This is Joy.
So let us bring joy into our being, and we do this by enjoying. Most of the traditional religions have neglected the spiritual importance of joy and enjoyment, as if spirituality has to be austere and without any pleasures or enjoyments. But in fact, enjoyment is a foundational principle of true spirituality. Enjoyment brightens our soul and leads us ever closer to God. Hey, God is enjoying this vast process of unfoldment, so let's us all enjoy it as well. Sure, there are moments and occasions of pain or frustration, but we need to see these as just temporary states. The true spiritual Ideal of life is enjoyment. So let's go for it.
Esoterically, or in the realm of spiritual metaphysics, joy and enjoyment is shared with everyone. What this means is that when you and I are in joy, or enjoying, this higher emotional quality is shared with the whole world; the vibrational energy of this joy is shared. Of course this does not mean, necessarily, that this joy energy will be picked up and experienced by everyone; for that is dependent of their own choices and capacities. But this joy will be made available.
In addition, each living experience of joy, each moment of joy in us, adds to the accumulated feeling of joy in the whole world. It adds to the whole sound of joy, and in a sense it makes that sound louder or more hear-able. It adds to the overall vibration of joy, and thus adds to the influence of joy or the power of joy to be influential. Therefore, even if many people are not consciously picking up on our added joy energy, they are nonetheless being influenced subtly (subconsciously) by the accumulating energy of joy in the world.
Understanding this is very beautiful, because every moment or experience that we have of joy will spread to others in the world and help to transform the emotional quality of all humanity. Thus, through our own joy and enjoyment we help further the spiritual goal of all life and serve others in a spiritual way. What a bargain. What a deal. As we enjoy, we bring more joy into the world, and thus help transform the world in a positive and spiritual way. So no need to think that service or a spiritual path has to be all too seriously hard work. Simply enjoy, in order to bring goodness to life and the world. Transform the world with joy. Nice path to follow. Nice way to help everyone.
Then add to this the quality of love, and we are making a pretty sweet mixture for the whole world to enjoy.