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Awakening joy is a skill. Even though we all undoubtedly want to be happy, it is not always easy to feel truly aware of and awake to the experience of joy. For one reason or another, many of us lost touch with our innate sense of happiness and radiance as we became teenagers and adults. However, joy is always present within us – even if dormant. 

Meditation for Joy

James Baraz, meditation teacher and co-author of Awakening Joy, is committed to this pursuit. Through his book, courses, and teachings, he invites us to reconnect with that source of happiness within. He shares heart practices for awakening joy in adults, as well as ways that parents can use these principles to awaken joy in their children.

One simple technique we can practice in any moment to give rise to the joy and happiness within us is gratitude. In the words of Melody Beattie, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” It is in this fullness, one might argue, that we reconnect with the radiance and contentment within.

5 Minute Gratitude Meditation

A simple meditation for joy can take the form of a 5 minute gratitude meditation. To practice, set a timer for 5 minutes and then find a comfortable place where you can sit undisturbed for this length of time. Close your eyes when you are ready and then spend this time cultivating a sense of appreciation for whatever comes to mind. You might feel gratitude for the breath, for your body, for the earth beneath you, for qualities you hold, for loved ones in your life, for the comforts of your world, or for anything else. There is nothing too large or too small to be noted in this meditation.

Alternatively, you can consider this practice as a journal exercise. You might still set a timer for 5 minutes, but instead, you would let your hand free-flow as it jots down all the things you have to be grateful for. You can also use this worksheet to reflect more upon what brings you joy in your life. 

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