While adding joys to the compendium it has become clear that joys even the most subtle have many phases of development from our first experience with a particular source of joy to deepening our appreciation for something we find enjoyable. Here is four phases of joy you might recognise.

Phase 1 – The joy of discovery

Our first introduction to any specific joy is that before first experiencing it we had no idea that it existed. Whether it was the first spoonful of chocolate ice-cream, the first bar of our new favourite song before that moment we could only image that whatever it was would bring us joy. This means of course that Phase one joy always includes a sensation of surprise.

Phase 2 – The joy of familiarity

Once we are familiar with a joy we can add a new Phaseof enjoyment that arrises from the anticipation of that sensation.

Phase 3 – Shared joys

A joy shared is a joy multiple tenfold. Our sense of belonging and connection is enhanced when we recognise the same joy in others either because they are undertaking the same action that creates intense joy in us or because we can empathise with just how wonderful their sense if enjoyment is.

Phase 4 – Transcendent Joy

Connects us to something bigger than ourselves, creates a sense of meaning beyond an individual or narrow purpose.

As the joy journey ramps up Marie and I have started to get moving. The idea that we want to get serious, arises and makes us laugh.

No, we are not getting serious.

That word makes us feel heavy, as if we are readying ourselves for hard labour. It suggests we are going to turn the joy journey into an uphill struggle.

We could do that of course. We could struggle and fall and keep going no matter how arduous the path. We are trained to think such an approach is admirable and that nothing worth having can come easily. When we reach the top we could look back and say “look how hard that journey was? How great are we that we managed to drag ourselves through that, we made it to the top we must be awesome. ”

We could do that but this is the time for something different. For a start, a Joy Journey has no fixed goal at the end, it starts with an intention and unfolds from there. This may seem vague but we would say the best exploratory journeys start with less certainty and more openness and faith.

Plus, part of the journey is to notice the quality and sensation of inspiration which marks out the path rather than viewing the future and trying to guess the steps it will take to get there.

So what can we say about our intent? There is not one way of describing it as each participant will have their own unique spin on it. Perhaps though a good start would be to say we intent to create something that shines. Something that is shiney enough to act as an invitation or enticement for others to shine too. Not an invitation to “shine like this” but to shine with an intensity and colour that is unique to themselves. An invitation, that reminds everyone that to shine is their natural way of being.

As we begin to explore this intent how shall we begin then? Not with seriousness, we need not steel ourselves or tough up for the battle ahead. None of these will do. We must loosen ourselves, lighten, brighten and liberate ourselves. Instead of getting more serious, we must get brighter.

Activity, venture or project inspired by joy rather than driven by need or a well-defined end goal. On such a journey outcomes are revealed in response to joy inspired action and the willingness to let go of perceived ideas of success. The deepest type of joy journey is experienced when LIFE lives through the participants.

This list of new and existing words have been collected here to celebrate the vast array of joy that we humans have access to. The intention is to maximise enjoyment and potential by defining joys, that readers and contributors have personally experienced and those we might want to experience.

New terms are designed to encourage exploration of a joy that there is currently no name for (not just because making up words is great fun, although it is).

Our greatest hope in building this compendium is that everyone who reads it might explore and expand their experience of joy in their life.

While we have no lofty goals to “save the world” with this project, it is clear that being able to define what our “better world” will look and feel like requires a deep understanding of joy.

Could we build such a library of words for joy for individuals and groups to share that we would eventually see joy on project plans? Could we begin to embed measures of joy into government programmes? If the solutions to our global problems included a measurement of the amount of joy they created rather than just the suffering avoided, how much more successful might they be?

Often, after we have had a group call the themes of the call start to crystallise into insights. This weeks call emphasised the different between working in resonance and harmony.

The aim of working together is not to bring each member into resonance, that would imply that the group requires each member to be vibrating at the same frequency as it were. What we want to explore is how to have each member be in harmony with one another in their expression of the idea at the heart of the venture or ventures undertaken in joy journeys.

When we work in harmony the venture is expanded and enriched. In the same way as a song sung by one person can be beautiful but the same song sung by many people singing in harmony is richer.

There are many definitions of freedom but for the purposes of this project our definition will be freedom from body and mind. If I am not the body and not the mind, what am I. And how can I tell? Because I choose what I am, once free of the ideas of the body and the mind,  I am free to be something else.

The journey to freedom is full of degrees of freedom that feel like arrival but are really just stops along the way. Yet each degree provides some benefits. For example, leaving higher level needs behind such as the need for recognition, praise, belonging, etc reduces fear and means we can jump off the hamster wheel. We no longer need to work so hard to keep meeting those needs, we can just let them go.

But of course letting them go means we have to be willing to give up the possibility of experiencing pride in our achievements, we will no longer have the experience of feeling skilled, special, accomplished etc. Such things are artefacts of the cause and effect world. In this world our actions cause things to happen. If those things are good we congratulate ourselves. To let go of the self allows us to conceive of another language of reality.

Currently the way we make sense of the world is by mapping out causes. We have physical rules that explain the causes and the effects. We also have theories and philosophies that explain how individuals and groups work. All of them have a basic language. When we observe something to understand it’s meaning we look back in time to see its cause. Then we look forward to predict its effect. Everything, ideas, theories or hypothesis we collect creates a framework for us to move around the world.

We ignore the fact that we also know that everything in the perceivable world is made up of molecules including the air we breath. So in fact even though we perceive many differentiated objects in our world there is really only a sea of molecules. What creates the world is our perception systems, our senses. In a very real way we create our world and ourselves. We create inside a “container” that has all the templates (DNA, traditions, culture, etc). Then we forget we are one thing and feel our separateness from other objects and people in the world.


So in many ways freedom is the wrong word. Perhaps better is “realisation” we can realise our true nature. Or can we? Our true nature must be beyond the perceivable world, which means we have no access currently to or sense that can explain what that is. If we think we feel our true nature it is only it’s reflecting in perceivable world, like looking in a mirror we can see its likeness but not it. Emptiness or no-thing-ness is what spiritual teachings call it. They usually caution that if you think you can describe it or know what it is, that isn’t it. In fact, it is easier to say what it is not than what it is. Not very helpful and without personal exploration it sounds like rubbish and pointless waste of time.

Perhaps the benefits of exploring liberation earnestly (as Nisgaradatta advised) is that the first thing that happens when we let go of our identity, is that we can immediately see it as something we have constructed and so we can destroy without fear. Once we have let go of our constructed image we are free to explore very different ways of being, we let go of ourselves and all the “rules” as well. Except gravity that is really useful, unless you want to fly of course.

If we get to define the rules what could we think up that would change the perceivable world to something even more wonderful? What intention makes sense?

This seems to be a good question to pursue and so we shall in our joy journey.

The paradox of a destination with no needs for motivation is a core area of investigation for this project. As we discover how to “get things” done in new ways without the tension created by “needs.” What we do have is “wants” which might seem like the same as a need but the difference is subtle but powerful. A “need” brings with it the tension of having to have and suffering if that need is not fulfilled. In comparison a want is a desire that would be nice but is not a necessity and so can be let go of easily or at least not turn into a burden if the want is not received as it has been envisaged.

Creating with ease is a goal of our co-creative work – this statement is appealing and repulsive at the same time. Seems like it would be great to create with ease but there are entrenched ideas that must be dissolving before that can happen:

One idea that comes to mind when thinking about creating with ease is “nothing worthwhile comes without struggle.” Perhaps this can be reframed by defining struggle differently? Riding the paradoxes until a new clarity is formed could be described as “struggle.” or perhaps use Carol Dweck’s description of the “glorious struggle” which is the enjoyable sensation of digging in and discovering deeper layers of understanding, filled with “aha” moments and beautiful insights.

“No pain, no gain” is another idea that requires us to suffer in order to make progress. This could perhaps be removed as an idea in its entirety. In lots of ways it never really made sense. Lots of things are gained without “pain.”

Another common idea that requires us to avoid ease is, “Things that come easily have little substance.” When things come easily it is sometimes difficult to notice how important they are to the larger goal. If things just turn up it’s easy to see them as not part of the goal you are striving for because no striving was involved. Also if there is little clarity about what the end goal is – ie it’s part of an exercise in allowing and unfolding, it can be easy to overlook something’s relevance.

How can we create something that has even substance to start creating it’s on gravity. Something that is “weight” without being so serious and heavy that we can not use joy to navigate it’s unfolding?

Perhaps we can use emotions to connect lightly with whatever turns up. Is the event or idea enlivening? Does it make you feel excited or drained? Our project might in this case be less about creating a project plan with milestones in the traditional sense and more about creating a an emotion map, with a description of how we want to feel as the goal, then other feelings as subgoals. Activities that we know create such feelings might then be markers along the way.

As I type this the other old idea that comes up is that feelings are fickle, transigent and unreliable. They are certainly transigent but can they provide navigation guides? This is just one of the questions this project will answer along the way to it’s many goals. In this case, perhaps understanding the transient nature of feelings will help avoid getting stuck along the unfolding path and more oever provide the a sensitive enough tool with which to navigate unknown waters.