Joy and Striving Are Not in the Same Ball Park

God said:

The life you desire does not come from extreme effort. The world, as it appears, may say that you must work hard for everything. Yet working hard is not enough. As a matter of fact, working hard is often too much, for it wears you down.

Much of the good in life you receive arrives without effort. It happens. It just happens. You may not even have been looking for it. It pops up in front of you.

Clearly, it is not your effort that makes the sun shine and the rains to come. Ideas that come to you do not arise from strain. Straining prevents ideas from arising. When ideas arise, they pop up the way a daisy pops up. Joy often seems to arise as a by-product. You may well not have set up joy as your main objective and have been striving for it. How do you strive for joy? Joy and Strive are not in the same ball-park.

In order to chop wood, you applying yourself, and it is physical effort, yet chopping wood can feel good to you. By the same token, many who exercise in the gym apply themselves, and they sweat, and, yet, they enjoy themselves. It feels good. They may or may not have an object in mind, and yet the exercise of itself gives satisfaction.

Nor is it supreme effort that gets you out of the pit of despair. How much can your will and determination bring joyful treasure to you?

If you find a diamond ring in the street, finding a diamond ring may have been the last thing on your mind until you stumbled upon it.

You may work hard at finding a new job, yet when you find a new job – and one you like – it was easy. You may have worked very hard at finding work, and, yet, at some point, you may have met someone on the train who had a job opening in his company and was looking for the right person for the job, and he auspiciously finds you and, auspiciously, your new job falls in your lap.

There are no accidents. You may be looking for something on your left, and it appears on your right.

Of course, you may have to work hard to get a good grade in geometry in high school. Someone else may not have to study at all. It comes easily to one and not to another. If you work very hard at studying, you make this decision to work hard for a good grade. We could call that outer motivation. At the same time, there is something about studying so hard that makes it worthwhile for you – or, then again, it may not.

It is not that you are to be performance-oriented above all, yet performance also has its place in life. There can be joy in tossing up three oranges in the air and catching them and tossing them up again in a certain progression and catching them in mid-air again in a certain progression.

Yet living life has not always been fun for you.

By and large, when you are tense, you do not enjoy. Tension seems to ignore joy and make it tough. How can you be swept up in joy when you are tense? I am speaking of life and not a performance in a play. Of course, you can be tense at giving a speech and do very well, so, after the fact, you enjoy remembering the occasion for years to come.

It can be that you grew up with the understanding that life was meant to be a struggle, that life perhaps was meant to be a struggle between what you would enjoy and what you are obligated to do, and you haven’t quite figured it out yet.

Life is not supposed to be one way or another, yet life is also your choice. One way or another, you are the maker of your life.