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Sparking Joy

Unless we are on a total media fast, we have likely heard of the notion of tidying our home with the KonMari method of asking the question of our belongings - ‘does this spark joy for me?’. If not, we thank it for being in our life and bid it farewell.

What’s powerful about this is the experience of personalism. When we are more conscious about the things in our life and how they affect us, we value them more and treat them better. This will spill out into how we treat ‘living things’ - the alive plants, animals, and people in our life, up to the supreme person, Krishna.

We can also consider the principle of ‘what sparks joy’ as a way to keep our daily spiritual practice alive and growing. After all, the practice of bhakti is known in Sanskrit as ‘kevala ananda kanda’, the path of happiness. Yet, I sometimes see unhappy emotions swirling around bhakti practitioners. The practice seems to create stress; the mind and false ego we are trying to transform seem stuck in misery.

Whatever the cause of our own struggles, being intentional about sparking joy in our daily sadhana can help lift our spirits. It’s actually essential. We need to make our spiritual life work for us, as individuals, as we each have a different context in our life.

I know a devotee who has a busy schedule. He used to get up very early and chant his japa in one go (always recommended). However, now he chants for 45 mins in the morning, does 30 mins in the day, and again 30 mins in the late evening. He says his favorite time is the last one - he lights candles on his altar, turns off the main light, and has the sweetest end of day meditation. He told me he finds it easier to remember Krishna throughout the day knowing he has to carve out time later to complete his daily meditation.

That schedule doesn’t work for me but that’s the point. We have to find what does work, what sparks joy for our practice, and adjust things as we go along. The same for volunteer service, or the books we read or sanga we participate in. What sparks joy? Find it and you will find a new aliveness around your life and your relationship with Krishna.

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