Joy is an essential part of what we know as spiritual enlightenment—it is that tender and loving feeling towards ourselves and our life, most often experienced when we are one with the Universe, or our chosen Higher Power. It is a state of total transcendence where all the ebbing and flowing of life moves around the blissful individual, never impairing their divine state. Doesn’t this sound wonderful?

We’ve come to know that enlightenment does not always mean feeling great, but joy can coexist even with heavier emotions like loss, pain, and melancholy because joy is a vulnerable feeling too. We often think of emotions as singular experiences, that we can only feel one thing at one point in time, but this is a false mental perception. Our egos limit our perception of emotions, just like how our egos tend to see the world in black and white, good and bad. Because of this, when we experience a “bad” emotion, our ego tells us that no “good” emotion is possible at this point. This is a self-imposed limitation on our feelings.

What happens if we drop this perception entirely? For a moment, let’s all believe that we can feel both “good” and “bad” at the same time. Doesn’t it seem like there’s more room for joy, or at least that subtle sense of peace and acceptance? It’s this transformation that makes joy accessible.

When we stop to think about this, it becomes a real possibility to feel joy more consistently in our life. Through more reflection, we might also come to realize that we often experience complex emotions and that these complexities are the real Truth of our human experience. We all know what it’s like to cry from joy and how complex that feeling is. We all know how relief and pain can coexist. These are just some of the complexities of our emotional experiences, so who is to say that we cannot experience joy amongst all that life, and our emotions, have to offer us? It’s the acceptance of such complexity that allows us all to feel the vulnerability joy innately carries with it.

The most transformative thought that can help us make room for this wonderful state is, “If I give up needing things to be perfect in order to feel joyous, then I can feel joy.” Releasing the need for joy to feel “perfect” makes it more possible to feel the actual state itself. Joy does not demand anything to happen in our lives, it flows from the depths of our spirits.

So often, we believe that we must “seek” enlightenment, bliss, and joy. In reality, they are currently existing in our life, we only need to tell ourselves that they are already accessible. These states are universally available, no matter the situation we are in. Even in the most painful of places, we can experience a total contentment with our state of being—letting go of resistance makes room around the pain for joy to enter. Much of this comes through first accepting the reality of the pain, then—with this newfound surrender—we transform the energy we were using to resist into energy we can now use to add this joy to our situation, creating a complex emotion of relief, joy, and recognition of the harder feelings.

Right now, let’s all take a breath and give ourselves permission to feel joyous. For one single moment, let’s give ourselves the space we need to feel this state of transcendence—no matter how unattainable we feel it is right now. Instead, let’s all know it is now possible. Breathe in this for a few moments and remember that the only requirement to feel joy is the desire to feel it, no matter what is happening in your life, emotions, or mind. Joy is within us in every moment, we just need to open our hearts to it.

Arien Smith is a mindfulness life coach who’s passionate about helping people recognize their potential for joy and peace even in hard times. Through his own difficult life experiences, he’s learned a lot about using spirituality to get through anything and shares many of his inspiring thoughts on his Facebook:

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