Real Joy, Right Now
The main things Joel had going for him were his wife's willingness to hang in with him, a habit of meditation, and the teachings of the spiritual path he'd been following since 1979. He is a student of Siddha Yoga, a tradition that emphasizes integrating inner practice with daily life, and Joel had, as he puts it, "somehow developed enough of an understanding of how life works to accept what was happening."
Joel found himself turning again and again to a statement from Siddha spiritual master Swami Muktananda: "Meditation gives you the power to be happy even when you're unhappy." He'd always heard that as a promise—that regular meditation practice puts you in touch with the state of wholeness beyond the superficial mind, the part of you that can withstand assaults on your well-being. But as he turned it over in his mind, he realized that Muktananda's statement could be interpreted in a broader sense—not just as a kind of press release for meditation practice but as encouragement to accept unhappiness, instead of trying to escape or bypass it.
"This realization was big for me, because I have a real attachment to being happy," he says. "But the more I relaxed into the situation, the better I got at dealing with it and the more I was able to feel OK with whatever was going on."!--page-->