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"If you were to remove all of the other stuff; the layers of anxiety, fear, suffering, ego, and to quiet the busy noise of the mind, what would you notice? Is it possible that joy exists within you, simply masked by all of the human 'conditions' we let get in the way?"

Joy is your inherent nature. It is felt most deeply by going inward and simply observing what "is". Joy is akin to 'peaceful contentment'. To express and feel the joy of your inner nature; that you are capable of being - is a conscious choice. Joy remains a part of you.

We experience moments that ignite our innate feeling of joy and open us to its full expression. Knowing what simple pleasures elicit this feeling is but one way we exude joy. Existing as joy is our deeper challenge.

Happiness as a mood state is a momentary feeling that occurs because of what you think about. (There is always a causal relationship between your thoughts and how you consequently feel). Yet, happiness (like any emotion) is fleeting. If in the next moment, you tell yourself you are unloved then likely the feeling of happiness will be replaced with something else. By comparison, joy is a pure state emanating from your soul.

Can there be joy in solitude? - In time spent alone to contemplate, imagine, meditate, or be in nature? Can joy exist for you regardless of what others say and do? How do you feel joyful despite what may be happening in your life, and in the world around you?

The holidays pull at our heart strings for a number of nostalgic reasons. We've been taught that Christmas is about "spreading joy" through gift giving, visiting with family and friends, as well as many other longstanding traditions that we continue to uphold. As you may participate in any or all of these perfunctory activities, are you choosing to FEEL joy? Do you choose it or do you hope or wait for it to come to you through external sources?

Consider what allows you to be joyful.

Be reminded of how joy exists in the simple pleasures of being present to experience life; of accepting others and life situations 'as they are', and in allowing yourself to enjoy the activities that easily nurture the inner quality of joy you possess. Remember joy is your natural state. It doesn't require anything except your willingness to attend to it; to nourish it by allowing yourself ample time each day to feel its presence.

Honour your experience of joy as one you can actively cultivate - that you are in charge of rather than one you need to go in search of.

Observe the moments of pure joy that exist out of the simplest things. Notice how joy as a state of being comes out of the present moment. Let yourself experience joy without attaching it to the 'things' of this physical world, but rather from a infinite place inside of you.

Let yourself be mesmerized in the experience of joy. Feel what is possible when you remain present in this moment. Go into your heart centre and feel the experience of joy emanating throughout you. Live from this state of joy as you share of yourself with others this holiday season and always. Blessings, everyone!

Originally published on AllThingsHealing.com. Click here for the original.