I just watched the new “Blade Runner 2049” movie with my friend Steven, and there’s a point when the business titan, played by Jared Leto, says, “Pain reminds you the joy you felt was real.”
I would amend that, I think, to “Pain tries to convince you that the joy you felt was real.”
After the movie, we talked about how funny it was that the ego is always trying to convince the soul that True Joy can be found in personal experiences, through the senses, through relationships. Since the ego can only know joy from its opposite, pain, usually he first makes you feel as badly as possible, so that even if you do find even a little happiness, it feels–by contrast–to be an amazing flight of inexpressible joy.
Note the word: “contrast.”
You can “enjoy” that kind of happiness if you want, for as long as you want, but in order to do so you have to pay the price of contrast, which is to say, you have to suffer in order to make it seem real. It’s like pinching your hand all day long, and then–for a few moments every now and then–releasing the pain. In that brief moment of relief, you would proudly describe yourself as happy, but is it really the kind of happiness you’re looking for?
Like the characters Joy and Sadness in the movie Inside Out, you can’t have one without the other.
True Joy, on the other hand, comes from your inner nature and doesn’t have to be sought after at all. You only have to step out of the SEARCH mode and allow it to come back to you, as it used to when you were a happy kid.
Anyway, you’ll know when the JOY you feel is real, because
1) you won’t have to tell anyone about it,
2) you won’t be able to find a reason for it, and, in time,
3) it will begin to feel so much like your true state of being that you’ll stop going back to the old ways of looking for it, over in Contrast World.