What’s Happened to the Joy of Life?

Work is something of a dread for many of us. We generally see it as a box to tick and something that we must get through to get by in life. We sometimes even think of being in another job or position within the company or someplace else and convince ourselves that will bring back the spark to what we do. We may even seek to undertake jobs that we know in the past brought us some satisfaction, such as turning a hobby into a fulltime career: for some this seems to work well but unless we are living a fullness of joy in whatever we do, we seek reward and or satisfaction instead and then, are we living less than what we could in life?

Let me explain. Life ought not to be mundane. We are not here on Earth to plainly exist and this certainly does not make sense to why we would be here and the potential we all know in our hearts we can bring to life. So many of us know innately – especially when we are young – that there is so much potential in us to live. Not necessarily for what we can do and what we may become, but more so for the simple joy of experiencing ourselves, that is our true selves, in whatever we do.

I have witnessed joy in so many children for doing the simplest of tasks, from tying their shoelaces to even going to the toilet or going for a walk. These basic tasks may seem boring to many as just part of living, but these same children grow up to be adults one day saying just the same thing as most of humanity in claiming that these tasks they once found great joy in doing are now just part of everyday existence.  

So where does this joy go?

Is it hiding under the sink? Or under the bed? Or what about tucked away in an attic somewhere? It does not just disappear simply because we get older and get too grown up for seeing joy and playfulness in these simple tasks. Sure an assignment or work project may have many dollars riding on its importance of being completed, but this does not make it necessarily more important than enjoying the wonders of tying your shoes for example.

These projects, complexities and apparently greater aspects of life do not need to take precedence over the quality of our being, especially how we feel within ourselves. I know that it can be hard to see the joys in the simple things in life when you have just failed a big test, exam or project, or even do not know how to complete one of these. Even if you don’t have such projects of importance in your life anymore, it does not mean that at some point in your life you have not been affected by life placing such pressures on you.

What we do generally when these pressures are placed on us is we tend to react because they are often given to us in such a way that makes us feel that we have not been met or seen for who we are first. Life then seems more important than the quality of our being and suddenly that joy we innately know is seemingly less important than anything else in this world. After all, you are not going to pass a test or exam purely based on whether you feel joy-full in yourself or not.

We tend to check out from ourselves and our body and see the mind as king in this world and our body as runner-up to anything else.

But what if this form of behaviour is in fact what is causing us to feel that the joy in our day is gone? The key difference between how we live as adults and how we live as children is our level of connection with ourselves and our body. Perhaps what the key to experiencing joy again in our day, at even the smallest and seemingly insignificant things such as tying our shoelaces, is about being present again in our body in the moment and feeling that we can be totally and absolutely embracing of whatever that moment offers us.

What if life is just that simple, yet our heads acting on their own have made even the smallest of issues more complex than they ought to be?

You are probably thinking right now that this is crazy talk, as how can our body have any intelligence at all, especially considering it is the mind that seems to make this world tick… or is it?

Does the mind even care about the body it lives in when it is living in disconnection from it? A classic example is not going to the toilet when needed – whilst the body skids and squirms in its seat, shouting at an ignorant mind it is in obedience to. I can remember doing this so much at school because I was not always allowed to go to the toilet when I needed to or I felt embarrassed so I would not go and would often almost have seat-bum-burns from having to skid around holding on in my seat too much!

Indeed when we are in disconnection from our body and then reconnect back to it, we do feel the ugliness of how we have really been treating it. But what if there is a joy of being with you in your whole body and not just in your mind. It would certainly mean you don’t have to worry about that project due tomorrow, or the cat having to see the vet next Tuesday or having to pick your mum’s washing up from the dry cleaners this Saturday, whilst you squeeze in a mountain of work due before this weekend all whilst washing the dishes!

So could this indeed be the simple answer to our lack of lustre and vivaciousness in life?

I know for me this is in fact the case. Going from hard out study-o-holic to living the absolutely delicious man I am, all I have changed is my own relationship with my body and hence with myself, learning more about myself and how I have been living that has not always been in line with my body’s truth.

Could this be your truth too?

For me it all started with a simple use of the Gentle Breath Meditation™, and this was inspiration enough to change my whole life. The Gentle Breath Meditation™ was introduced to me by Universal Medicine and is a very simple, practical way of re-connecting with ourselves and our body. It is available in many forms depending on what is needed by you in that moment.

By Joshua Campbell, 25, Software Developer, Belgium

Further Reading:
Being Still – With Joy
The Joy of Gentle Exercise
The Illusion of Happiness – Finding the Joy Within

662 thoughts on “What’s Happened to the Joy of Life?

  1. I remember wanting to grow up when i was younger, not because i didn’t enjoy childhood but because children aren’t taken seriously. I thought that as i grow up i will have more authority and people would listen, i did not for a second consider that I could probably disconnect form the innocent wisdom i had on tap and begin to fit the mould. But that is what happens for many of us as we grow up, and that is where the joy is lost. We lose the joy because we lose ourselves.

  2. We see the mind as king in the world. This is why the misery in the world is so huge.
    It is so needed that we get back into our hearts and live the love we are.

  3. “I have witnessed joy in so many children for doing the simplest of tasks, from tying their shoelaces to even going to the toilet or going for a walk.” Its so true Joshua, and it is such a joy to be around a child who finds so much joy in the simplest of things. Its a great question to ask, where does it go, but we can so easily reconnect to it when we choose to which indicates clearly to me that it never actaully goes anywhere, we just choose to bury it within us, and sometimes very deeply.

  4. The most joyful of moments are not necessarily those with the biggest fireworks. In fact they are the ordinary and mundane moments with no fireworks that have the greatest of potentials, because there is no expectations

  5. Young children naturally know how to move with absolute joy. They tend to have no or very little pictures and expectations of how things should be. They move very connected to their body and often able to be present and fully with themselves. I wonder, what happens to the adults, and at what point do we shut down this very natural aspect of who we are, and why would we not continue to move with such joy?

  6. It is very easy for us as we grow into adults to lose the joy and connection to ourselves that we once had because life is a set up to take us as far away from it as possible with all the trials and tribulations it chucks at you. And nobody tells you that by connecting back to oneself you can have it all back, not until now anyway.

    1. You’ve answered some questions for me Kev, it makes sense what you’ve shared. We can reconnect to the joy we were born with at any time. This set up you are referring to needs to be exposed, we’ve put them in place so we can dismantle and discard them as easily as when they were constructed.

  7. Interestingly yesterday I was putting on my sneakers to go for a walk and went to tie my shoelaces and found my mind wandering onto about 50 topics, I pulled it back and brought my full presence to what I was doing,and a smile came over my face and joy did bubble up inside of me. So for me, what you share is definately true. When I bring a more solid connection to my body, I do feel more joy.

  8. I love this – there is nothing we have to do or become, simply to re-connect with that which is already within and live from that potential, just as young children reflect in their sheer joy of being.
    “So many of us know innately – especially when we are young – that there is so much potential in us to live. Not necessarily for what we can do and what we may become, but more so for the simple joy of experiencing ourselves, that is our true selves, in whatever we do.”

  9. When we are children most of us have a natural gentleness and joy in all that happens in our day. Each day that the sun rises is an exciting new day to fill with fun…but why do we let go of this as we grow up? The world in many ways conditions us to do so, but it is still a choice we make to conform to this and hence embrace a way of life that is not truly joyful. And so it is a choice of ours to bring back a familiar way of being – it is not about learning anything new or having to teach ourselves difficult and complicated ways of being, rather it is about returning to the simplicity of life and what was on offer as children and un-learning that which we have learned as adults over the years.

  10. Life certainly can become a tick box exercise when we forget the purpose of what we are doing, and in this process things lose their joy and everything, even the most loving things can feel like a chore to do. Crazy how fast this can happen. This happens to me all the time, but now I understand what to do and so I do my best to come back to being in my body and just enjoying a very gentle way of moving and being and hence in the process I begin to enjoy myself more and then it is like the joy and the meaning of life is restored again. It has taken a long time for me to break this pattern of ‘losing myself’ and it still happens as mentioned but I am so much faster at bringing myself back and this is indeed a blessing.

  11. Asking school children or anyone for that matter to hold on and not go to the toilet is torture; our heart rate goes up significantly and what you describe has happened to you is truly appalling. How can we instil such shame and embarrassment into our children that they could ever think this was okay and the way things are done?

  12. Sometimes, to see the reality about the ugliness of how the body can be treated is so deeply saddening, especially when there is no end in sight for this ugliness to end, as it continues to be self-perpetuated time and time again en mass and individually as choices are made and lived.

  13. Everything is a choice and can we love and accept all our choices when we feel them? Not choosing to feel them we could never get to the point of acceptance or not, so it is pure awesomeness we can feel something we don’t like.

  14. Could big life changes be as simple as starting with having a loving relationship with ones body – ‘all I have changed is my own relationship with my body and hence with myself…’

  15. My joy leaves me when I hold back on something and my body lets me know it in the form of aches and pains, exhaustion, mild depression. When I am on it and fired up, the wonders of life kick in and the joy is there in even the most mundane of tasks.

  16. It feels so true, Joshua, the mind does not care a jot about the body. It drives us to do so many things that are not supportive to the body, like crazy amounts of exercise, like distracted us from sleep by tempting us with food or encouraging us to push ourselves on with a project when clearly we can feel the body is exhausted. The mind is a huge conman.

  17. I have read this a few times now and interestingly it always takes me by surprise when you write that you being a man as it is rare for me to read a blog like this written by a man. It is equal measure of delight to read it and sadness that is not the norm that men can express like this in the world Thank you for leading the way Joshua.

  18. I ran a career coaching company for years based on the BIG lie: if we help you to find your dream job, everything will be allright. You will be happy. The truth is: people miss the connection to themselves, to their inner essence (and many other names) and then start looking outside of themselves (the next dream job) to replace that missing connection.

    1. No matter the number job changes or promotions, without the inner connections we are but empty shells, veritable robots ticking boxes and bringing the bacon home.

    2. Wow Willem, brilliant and such an honest sharing. So many people tend to feel deeply lost as to how to find that spark and reconnection to love. There are an array of things in the world that promises to make things better but we quickly find that better is still not it. Now more and more people are discovering through the teachings of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine that it is simply reconnecting to our essence and our Soul that we begin to understand and able to live our true purpose in life.

  19. I really value the people I work with because when everything gets a little bit too serious and heavy they bring lightness and humour to the situation in a really lovely way.

  20. Joshua, I can relate to what you are saying. I checked out from my body when I was a child, and allowing myself to come back into my body, I can feel everything I have done to it which is not so pleasant to feel in one way, but a great lesson in another way, because I won’t do it again.

  21. To me it seems we have made life hard, in as much as everything reflects back to us the hardness of life. Our buildings, office space, cars, houses etc. We are very sensitive beings and yet we ignore our sensitivity, and instead build a world that reflects back to us everything we are not.

  22. I absolutely remember the joy I felt as a child. It was with the simplest of things and the days seemed to go on forever. There was space and a feeling of always being in the moment. As we become an adult, this joy and spaciousness seems to erode gradually, so much so that we are not aware of it. I am finding that the more I am present with my body the more I can feel joyful. The trick though, is making the commitment to stay with my body and not go into my head and learning to make this consistent.

  23. Our body is amazingly intelligent, We do not appreciate this however. We judge it, condemn it and treat like an appendage. Do we appreciate out body for what is communicates to us constantly? I know I don’t always, but I am certainly learning to listen much more closely to its very wise counsel.

  24. Can we live the joy that we did as a child, being an adult? Some will say no, but there is a growing number of people who will say absolutely we can. What we discover is that its not dependant on the task we are doing, its about how we are in that. The task itself is irrelevant, but we have placed everything on the task. No wonder we have little joy.

  25. We’re constantly sold today this idea of a ‘better life’ – break away from the shackles of life and do what you really love and want to do.. but could this all be a result of the fact that the complicated systems we’ve created, the perpetual state of busyness we keep ourselves in, separates us from our own feelings- and that that is what we miss- actually feeling something, and feeling a deeper connection to ourselves and others that comes with it? What if we didn’t have to leave our jobs to get this but learn to relate to them in a different way, making it about our bodies and people first? True joy is a deep contentment that comes with feeling and honouring that quiet voice of the Soul within, that always has our best interests at heart.

  26. Life from the mind is often serious and hard and life generally sucks or is comfortably numb. Life from the body is lighter, playful and committed to what needs to be done but joyfully so.

  27. I can do a simple breath in from my nose in and feel back the connection in my heart and from there the joy is felt in my heart. When I connect in my heart I start to re-connect with my body too. The best place to be.

  28. Our bodies are at the mercy of our minds and our minds are cruel masters concerned only with what they are concerned with and not interested at all in how the body feels until it cannot be ignored, but we are both a body and a mind and our bodies reveal so much of the truth of who we are and what we feel and living from our bodies brings us to the joy we innately are and feel.

  29. The moment we complicate we take the joy out of life. Joy is in simplicity, all we need to do is to observe children to know this.

  30. I wouldn’t say that I master living life joy-fully every day of my life, yet what I can say for sure, is that connecting to my body and being present to what I am doing, and how I am doing it, definitely changed my perception of everyday livingness. Taking focus from ME/MY/MINE to others and seeing the world/people afresh every day is far from boring!

  31. There’s zero joy in a functional existence that consists of ticking boxes and ‘doing the right thing’. Joy to me is when we let go and allow ourselves the freedom to be and express our true selves, in full.

  32. We have created a life where we do not even question anymore that there should be joy in our life where we have succumbed to the drag, the harness and hardship in life, so what I very much like about your question is that it reawakens our innate knowing that we so very much deserve joy in our lives.

  33. When someone has a passion about something, they are so enjoying being in the moment of it, completely with the connection to their body, the joy is there for everyone to feel.

  34. Pure joy is our nature. It gives a swing to life we all desperately are missing out on. We have it at our finger tips, it is just a matter of choice.

  35. Why have we created a society that lacks joy while it is our nature? Is there a simplicity and power in it that we forcefully try to ignore?

  36. Where does the Joy go? An excellent question Joshua.
    We go from living free and loose in our bodies where even tying a shoelace is fun, to living from our minds, as our bodies become harder and more rigid. Just reading this I feel like I have to dance around the house to loosen up.

  37. This is a great question to ask and reflect upon, where is the joy in our life, what do we really feel joyful about, or have we succumbed to a way of living that is merely functional and then is topped off every now and then with a fun occasion, a so called high or good time.

    1. And it is good to explore the possible answers to this question, as in are we different being an adult form being a child? While we think there is a difference, and there is in our physical body and experience in living daily life, but in essence we are still one and the same as when we were that child. To me there is an energy held in society that life must be hard, that you have to work hard and that you only get recognised for your performance, and not for just who you are. That energy, when you fall for it, sucks out of you all the joy that still is there, but is not allowed to be lived anymore.

      1. I agree Nico, just the simple fact that we have created a society where we do not honour our innate qualities as an adult anymore takes the joy out of everything, as how can we be joyful if we are not allowed nor allow ourselves to be two we are:

  38. The Joy in life disappears as soon as we try to be someone/something we are not. For what could be more joyful than simply being ourselves, and reflecting to others that it is indeed possible.

    1. I agree, a zebra is just enjoying being a zebra and is not envying the elephant for its long nose and big ears, but we as humans have made it a lifetime pastime to always compare and compete.

  39. I was recently in a seaside town in the South West corner of England not far from Bristol, and if ever there was a place that reflected humanity’s lack of joy this felt like it, mainly because the population looked so ill and lackluster. Looking objectively at this town it was quite uncomfortable to feel just what we have collectively accepted and normalised. Just knowing that there is another way and that it is possible to support ourselves out of our malaise is a very powerful thing, but just how bad do things have to get before we are willing to be honest with ourselves and admit to how we are living?

  40. ‘The key difference between how we live as adults and how we live as children is our level of connection with ourselves and our body.’ Being present in the body means we get to feel ourselves from the inside out and as we move with ourselves the joy is awakened.

  41. Joshua, I really love this; ‘Let me explain. Life ought not to be mundane. We are not here on Earth to plainly exist and this certainly does not make sense to why we would be here and the potential we all know in our hearts we can bring to life.’ What you are sharing here feels very true. I know that I used to just get by in life and that I didn’t have commitment and joy in life like I do now. Now I love my work, I love the people I work with and the work I do. This has changed because I have started taking more care of myself and appreciating myself and what I bring and this has had a direct effect on how I feel about others and how I feel about life.

  42. Joshua, I can feel that when we go into our heads and over think things that this takes the joy out of life; ‘We tend to check out from ourselves and our body and see the mind as king in this world and our body as runner-up to anything else’. I have certainly lived like this and it is not an enjoyable way to be. I am learning to stay present in my body and not to over think things and by doing this life is more simple and more joyful.

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