My research project on "joy" continues - it has reached another dimension, the dimension of sustainability. Sustainability is the capacity to endure, really, - in biology it explains how systems remain diverse and productive for an indefinite period of time. In closed systems this is possible by replacing resources used from within, and it is built-in resiliency which absorbs disturbances in such a way that the whole remains intact, sustainable, whole.
It is easy to relate these ideas to the realm of joy, even before I discovered that Mary Baker Eddy writes that „…joy is self-sustained…“ Sustainability in the material world is often at stake - but in the spiritual world, which is right here, right now, sustainability is a key feature. After my research I can confidently say now: Joy is God's signature song. Continuously. It is impossible to conceive God, Spirit, not as a closed system - simply because it is All and it is One. Spirit maintains processes of productivity indefinitely because Spirit is Life. Relationships build on spiritual qualities such as compassion, unselfishness, tenderness, awareness are sustainable - because they can’t deteriorate, erode, dwindle, become exploitative or co-dependent. They are defined by Spirit, which is true substance - the essence of everything (as even a dictionary says).
Sustainable joy: I am being given a sweet gift in that I wake up almost every morning with a tingling sensation, for a few months now. It is early morning - and this sensation is like butterflies in one’s tummy, only better. This has not been the case always - there was a period of about three months in which I not only woke up around 3 am feeling terrorized and burdened, but woke up after a little more sleep with a sense of dread and fear. I persisted in defending my spiritual center, affirming my resilience against intruding emotions and affirming the pure presence and authority of Spirit in my experience. I didn't give in to this imposition. And it was only after a short while that this tingling started. Joy being simply there. In a sustainable way. It stays.
I feel that Peter Henniker-Heaton captures this sense beautifully in his poem „Threshold“ (which, by the way, is a strip of wood forming the bottom of a doorway and crossed in entering or exiting a house. It was meant to keep the threshed straw laid out on the stone floor in, keeping the house in medieval times warm). This poem is around my family for quite some time and it will stay - perhaps it speaks to you with as much authority as it does to me. Thank you, Sabine, for introducing it to me.
Manhood is come at last. All playthings gone,
I seek the paths of undiscovered joy
And leave each faded book, each battered toy,
The doors of childhood closing one by one.
And by this strange high gladness in my heart
I know that all far lands shall be my home
And every road a place where feet may roam
And every morn a time when journeys start.
I know that distant twilights call to me
And chalk-white roads that wind about a hill,
Over the grassy shoulder climbing still,
Bright with tomorrow’s secret urgency.
The morning wind plays soft upon my face,
Tossing my hair and catching at my cheek.
I must go forth, I must arise and seek;
somewhere a world unknown prepares my place.”
(Peter Henniker- Heaton. Jubilee and other poems. Boston 1979, p. 13)
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.