Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 6, 2017
Joy and Happiness in Prayer?
What an outrageous thought—feeling joy and happiness while praying. Or…is it?
Not according to the author of How to Sit, Buddhist monk and meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. The way he talks about it, feeling joy and happiness is a natural outgrowth of regularly practicing meditation and prayer.
All I know is I am able to tap into calmness and (even) serenity sometimes when I pray and meditate, now. Sure, I still have regular bouts with fear and anxiety. I can’t imagine a single person who does not. Welcome to the human condition. However, I am able to calm down that fear and anxiety, and more often than not relax into calmness, slowed breathing, and legitimate peace of mind. Really. Really and truly.
Now, going the next step and feeling joy and happiness, on a regular basis? Not so much.
As How to Sit says, relaxing and calming the body is a wonderful thing to do. Except, he connects being relaxed and calm with experiencing joy and happiness.  This is a challenging next step for me to do.
As this page mentions, “Countless people bounce around like yo-yos in their busy lives and never have the chance to taste this joy.”  However, I can take heart in the fact that I don’t have hours each day to sit in prayer and meditation, since “a few moments of sitting and conscious breathing can bring great happiness.”
Contentment? Peace? Certainly. I’ve experienced it. But, happiness and joy? I guess I’ll have to keep practicing until I do. That’s okay. I have a great love for these practices. So awesome! I guess there is always something more to learn. Again, that is perfectly okay.
Dear Lord, gracious God, thanks for bringing this reading to my attention. Thanks to our author, and much appreciation for his offer of support and encouragement. Thank you! And, go, us!
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 51.