Welcome to the Growing Joy practice. Take a moment to settle in and find a comfortable position, either seated or lying down, where your spine is straight and breathing comes easily. Begin by checking in with your body and noticing any areas that feel tense or hold tension. Allow those areas to soften or make any necessary adjustments to your body as we start.
As you sit or lie here, observe how your body is naturally breathing. Breathe in, sensing the nourishment of each breath. Breathe out, releasing and relaxing into this space a little bit more.
Now, bring to mind a friend or an animal, someone who effortlessly brings a smile to your face. Someone who is easy to love. Visualize that person or animal and allow them to rest gently in your heart and mind. Look into their eyes in your mind’s eye and see their happiest moments, their joy, their creative force, and their ability to overcome obstacles and find triumph. Imagine how you can join together to console and uplift one another, bringing joy and happiness.
Now, as if looking into their eyes, silently say one or more of the following phrases to yourself. If the words don’t resonate, simply convey the sentiment of appreciation:
- May you deeply appreciate and savor the good moments in your life.
- May the joy you experience continue to grow.
- May you be filled with joy and gratitude.
Shift your attention to yourself for a moment. Recall a time when you did something caring, generous, kind, or loving. Reflect on that moment and turn towards yourself, saying:
- May I deeply appreciate and savor the good moments in my life.
- May the joy I experience continue to grow.
- May I be filled with joy and gratitude.
Finally, expand this sense of appreciative joy beyond any one person. Extend it to your friends, family, colleagues, people in your city, state, country, and all people around the world. Imagine radiating this appreciative joy from your immediate environment in all directions, sending these joy-filled wishes to all beings in existence:
- May we all deeply appreciate and savor the good moments in our lives.
- May the joy we experience continue to grow.
- May we all be filled with joy and gratitude.
Take a few moments to simply linger in the feelings and sensations arising from this appreciative joy. Notice whatever arises and continue to focus on your breath.
As we bring this practice to a close, take a moment to acknowledge the act of choice in taking this time for yourself. Despite the thoughts and tasks that may distract you, cultivating the strength of appreciative joy is an act of self-love. Acknowledge yourself for taking this time and know that you can bring this joy into your daily life.