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Have you experienced Joy

The man. The myth.

Have you ever experienced what Lewis calls joy?

Yes, and I think it is spiritually significant
Yes, but I atatch no spiritual significance to it
No votes
No, I have never had the experience.
Total votes : 36

Postby Pete » 11 Jan 2007, 05:16

Ohh yes, I've felt it...and it's so refreshing to the soul but also, yes...painful in a way too - the desperation in it.

What has caused it? There's been many different things that has triggered it for me - nature, memories, certain music and scenes in movies, poems and certain passages in books, Bible verses, being in massive huge worship services where people are united in their worshipping of Jesus. And it's so unpredictable - because it comes when I least expect it.

I can't say I've felt it much recently...the last time I really felt it strongly would probably have been December 2005. But just as I write this I'm feeling it strongly now.

I think a powerful picture of the sort of thing I find it is similar to, is the description of when Mole picks up the scent of his home, when he is walking with the Water Rat in The Wind in the Willows. There being one difference - the scent he smelled led him to his house, where as for me and I presume for most people in real life these scents of joy come and then before we know it they're gone...? :??:

Ohh, one other thing:

A#minor wrote:It reminds of when Professor Kirke tells Susan and Peter that if they listen and watch carefully they may see in other people signs that they too have been to other worlds. People who act that way declare plainly what they are seeking.

Actually, that wasn't just said to Susan and Peter, in fact, it would seem to have been said to all 4 of the children quite probably. Actually I don't think it mentions who he says it to, but it wasn't said in the conversation he had with Peter and Susan.
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Postby A#minor » 11 Jan 2007, 23:18

Pete wrote:Ohh, one other thing:
A#minor wrote:It reminds of when Professor Kirke tells Susan and Peter that if they listen and watch carefully they may see in other people signs that they too have been to other worlds. People who act that way declare plainly what they are seeking.

Actually, that wasn't just said to Susan and Peter, in fact, it would seem to have been said to all 4 of the children quite probably. Actually I don't think it mentions who he says it to, but it wasn't said in the conversation he had with Peter and Susan.

Last paragraph of LWW, Professor Kirke speaking to all four children:
" ' And don't talk too much about it even among yourselves. And don't mention it to anyone else unless you find that they've had adventures of the same sort themselves. What's that? How will you know? Oh, you'll know all right. Odd things they say- even their looks- will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools?"

When I wrote that it was Kirke speaking to Peter and Susan, I didn't mean at the beginning of the book when they ask his advice about Lucy. I was just too lazy to write out all four children's names. :wink:
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Postby Jservic2 » 18 Sep 2008, 06:06

I have foolishly even thought of death to end it! I do not think it is fair to call it suicide because it is not a serious thought to kill ones own life, but rather such a powerful thing that even life itself becomes secondary to it.
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Postby ami » 19 Sep 2008, 09:18

I'm OK and I'm On My Way!
by Joyce Meyer

The expression “nobody’s perfect” is used or heard almost every day, but it’s true—I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, nobody’s perfect. Hopefully, though, we’re all getting better and are on our way to perfection. The important thing to remember is that even though we’re not yet perfect, we’re still OK. Just because we haven’t arrived yet doesn’t mean that we’re not on our way.

It’s true that we all still have a long way to go. I used to get discouraged about how far I had to go, and it seemed like I was reminded of it every day, sometimes every hour. I carried a constant sense of failure—a feeling that I just wasn’t who I needed to be, I wasn’t doing good enough, and I needed to try harder. Yet when I did try harder, I only failed again.

I’ve now adopted a new attitude: “I’m not where I need to be, but thanks God I’m not where I used to be. I’m OK, and I’m on my way!” I now know with all my heart that God isn’t angry with me just because I haven’t arrived yet. He’s pleased that I’m pressing on and staying on the path. If you and I will just “keep on keeping on,” God will be pleased with our progress.

Keep walking the walk one step at a time. This is an important thing to remember. It’s true that we have to keep pressing on, but thank God we don’t have to hate or reject ourselves while we’re trying to get to our destination.

If I invited you to take a walk, you’d think I was crazy if I became angry after the first few steps because we hadn’t yet arrived at our destination. We can understand ordinary things like this, yet we have a difficult time understanding that God expects it to take some time for us to grow spiritually.

We don’t think there’s something wrong with one-year-old children because they can’t walk perfectly. They fall down frequently, but we pick them up, love them, bandage them if necessary, and keep working with them. Surely our heavenly Father can do even more for us than we do for our children.

The process is always difficult. Growing and learning is never easy, but the changes make us better people. We begin to think differently, then to talk differently, and finally, to act differently. This process develops in stages, and we must always remember that while it’s taking place, we can have the attitude, “I’m OK, and I’m on my way!”

Enjoy yourself while you’re changing. Enjoy where you are on the way to where you’re going. Enjoy the journey! Don’t waste all of your “now time” trying to rush into the future. Remember, tomorrow will have troubles of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Today you may be wrestling with a bad temper, thinking if you could just get freedom in this area, everything would be all right. But the thing is, God will then reveal something else that needs to be dealt with, and you’ll be back in that same frame of mind again, thinking, “If only I didn’t have this problem, I could be happy.” We must learn to look at these things in a new way.

We can be free to believe that we are, indeed, OK and on our way—not perfected yet, but pressing on. We can be free to enjoy life, enjoy God and enjoy ourselves. :whistle:
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Postby Tumnus's Books » 24 Sep 2008, 01:28

Pete wrote:Ohh yes, I've felt it...and it's so refreshing to the soul but also, yes...painful in a way too - the desperation in it.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Standing outside the barn chapel at Weston Priory in Vermont during the Eucharist, barefoot on the grass, feeling the wind at my back almost pushing me towards the Bread and Cup...that moment of Joy came. The utter insignificance of self and significance of something other, all in one moment, I find myself still chasing after that feeling- wrong in one sense, I know, to try and reclaim a "feeling"- but nonetheless, at least my soul reaches out once more...
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Scents and Shadows of Heaven

Postby friendofaslan » 27 Sep 2008, 02:31

Thanks for all your comments on this interesting topic. I am a Feeling and Intuitive on the MB. I can relate so much to Lewis’ descriptions of that longing and sweet piercing he had when being awed by the beauty of the little recreated “garden” when he was a boy or reading George McDonald for the first time.

For me, that sweet piercing came when I first gazed at the lochs and mountains of Skye, Scotland, as I sat on the bow of a boat. The crystal clear blue sky was the same color as the water. The mountains were bright green and heather-covered. I have never seen anything so beautiful in the 30 years since. The only moment that has ever come close was my baptism as a teenager 6 years prior to this trip; it was just as cleansing, peaceful, and blessed. Viewing the Scottish landscape was pure spiritual BLISS. It was absolute uber-clarity and being in the moment. Peace radiated from my head to my toes for hours and hours after. Of course, the Scots have a saying something like this, “After God made Scotland, he took what was left to make Heaven.” It felt like Heaven to me. I had to tear myself away and kept looking back even when leaving the pier after we docked. My eyes, heart, mind, and spirit couldn't get enough of this tangible Joy. I am thankful the glimpse was a long one. I was (and am) overjoyed to imagine Heaven is going to surpass all this glory.

Like many of you, those sweet piercings and longings are evoked by music or a profound sunrise or sunset. We even have glimpses of it in scenes from poignant books/films like The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe or The Lord of the Rings when courage or sacrifice is displayed. As a college student, Frederick Beuchner baptized my imagination and showed me razor-sharp joy with his incredible stories like "The Ragman."

Goodness, Innocence, Beauty, Poignancy, Joy--all remind us there is a place where all of these glimpses will be fulfilled--where all the shadows will become light. :smile:
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Postby amanda m. » 04 Oct 2008, 06:15

The question of personality and Lewis' joy is a good one. It caught me off gaurd, but I like it. (And maybe it's no surprise that I'm also a feeling, intuitive, introvert.)

My clearest and most poignant "joy" experiences happened during my childhood. At that point, the only way I could articulate it was to describe it as Deja Vu, but I knew it was different; it was accompanied with such a strong sense of something larger than life waiting just out of reach. (Something I knew I should understand and just couldn't...but something that could answer the great question of life, the universe, and everything.)

I thought I was insane until I encountered it in literature. (In L.M. Montgomery's "Emily of Blue Moon," of all places.) I always meant to return to this book because I don't think the experience was tied to anything spiritual.

When I first read Lewis' explanation, it made so much sense I didn't even question it. I'm sure it's a real spiritual experience, but it could still be tied to personality. Perhaps God uses those experiences to communicate with a certain type of people. Perhaps He uses different methods to touch different personalities. (Which might explain why so many of my friends look at me as if I have two noses every time I talk about it...)

But I will say I'm so thankful for those experiences. They were real. And no matter how much I find myself doubting, I can always turn back to them. And I know that something bigger than myself is fueling my thirst for what will come.
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Postby matdonna » 07 Oct 2008, 01:10

here's my take on joy-- this is a poem from my chapbook, The Geography of Prayer:


The human soul is a Welshman,
And the hiraeth draws him,
All unknowing, toward the Gate of Heaven.
Wing of bird
Lover's touch
Shrill of flute
Taste of wine
Echoes, all, of Home,
Beckoning the exile
With pangs of yearnful joy.

*hiraeth: Welsh for a nostalgic longing for home

--Donna Farley
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Re: Have you experienced Joy

Postby Phoenix Talon » 07 Jan 2009, 03:01

For a few fleeting instances. It's something I long for more than anything else. Which is probably why I love reading C.S Lewis so much, he had similar experiences. :-)
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"Oh no, child. What would become of us if they were?" --Till We Have Faces
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NZ Singer songwriter Dave Dobbyn

Postby carol » 22 Feb 2009, 01:53

Dave Dobbyn's introduction to recent album “Anotherland”
(Dave has been a Christian during the last decade, but has a long career in great music in NZ and is a much-loved performer) Italics mine.

It was a snowy morning in London. Stone cold. A world away, the family were swimming on a summer evening in Auckland. My eye-watering cold seemed fitting – a bonus element of struggle kicked in. The pen was out of ink. Note: Pencils. Get up. I must summon the lonesome heart and birth some tunes. Away from home yet still on the way home and with good news and better music. God willing. Note: Scotch bonnet chillies great for a cold. Sweat. There's no unpacking my suitcase of songs – a yearning feeling never leaves a songwriter. The good songs travel and it's a long way across town when you're working in London and living in New Zealand. Wherever, I'm hoping for songs where the angels can join in, fly around in the harmonics and dance above and along with the band when it's playing in the zone – I first hear them in gospel and soul music as a child and I've been looking for them ever since – they are in the spirit of it. People try to define that spirit and the more they do the less is clear, like looking into the sun – you can't own it – it's untameable. I heard that sound again in Leon Russell, Jimi Hendrix, Al Green, Van, to name a few. I've always been transported and set free by the music. Somehow, you surrender your pain and joy to it and that is what it's for. You identify with the lone singer in love, howling out longing – or the pilgrim in supplication with his unrequited hunger suspended in raw soul. It's the longing – that's what you recognise the most – the longing. It always begs a response – it's like joy runs deep and carries pain in it – it must, for a good song to move you so much. There's a need to exercise that joy or end up numb to those around you – I deal with it best in music and giving all heart to it. Multiply that by a solid crew and it can't be contained. So now brothers, today we'll pull down heaven and play it out loud – shake the foundations with bass and blow down the walls with horns – lift the roof off with singing -moving hearts with a word and cutting deep with guitars – upsetting with drums and delays to take us all further on up the road. It's an invitation and a dance and thankfully there is always good occasion for it. So take me to Anotherland tonight. Love.
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Re: Have you experienced Joy

Postby Áthas » 09 Mar 2009, 23:26

Ohh yes, I've felt it...and it's so refreshing to the soul but also, yes...painful in a way too - the desperation in it.

This is a great topic and it took me some time to figure out how to write something about it.

Until I read the books by C. S. Lewis, I didn't have a word for it, not really, but I've kn own it since I was a little child. I remember a few special moments. One must have been before I even went to school. My mother had a CD by Rondo Veneziano and I remember her listening to it one day and I had this special feeling: complete happiness in some way, but at the same time, a desperate longing for something which could be out there, but was (and still is) impossible for me to grasp. It might even have been then that I made my first dancing attempts. Music often brought this up, especially pices by Enya or Moya Brennan, later songs by bands like Nightwish and other bands. In a children's song, Joni Eareckson Tada sings about it (I think the song is called "a Little Bit of Lots of Big") and she also writes about it in he rbook "Heaven-Your Real Home". Yet, I don't think it has necessarily something to do with religion.

At some point, I figured the reason why I experience it in such intense ways and quite often is because I've always been "different" in some way and since we left church almost a decade ago, I tried to go further and further in every direction: always learning something new, imagining new things, writing songs, starting to write a novel, singin, making music, acting, studying, developing new interests, tearing down the limits in my mind. I guess I'm kind of weird there, but I know a few other people who are like that and with them, I feel like Professor Kirke tells the children - when I get to know these people, I just "know" that I can talk about certain things which many other people wouldn't understand.

I don't consider myself a Christian anymore, but I do like the image of Heaven (I'm not an atheist either, so I can "allow myself" to have these thoughts. I imagine Heaven to be everything we love, everythign we consider beautifu, multiplied by infiniteness and I guess if we had that right now with the way we're built and or emotional life, we'd probably die if we experienced it because if would be too much to bear. But I imagine that in Heaven, if there is one, we'd be able to bear that, even more, submerge in it. Floating through space, seeing all the galaxies and planets "being born" and "dying", being without any limits, being able to learn everything and to know and understand everything.

When I dance, I often have this feeling of "Joy" or "Sehnsucht". In Summer, I was on the island Helgoland for a small Punk Rock Festival and there was a moment when the sun was setting and the light was absolutely beautiful and we wee at the beach, sand, wind and the sea and shortly after that, my favorite band that weekend started playing. I totally "lost it" in a good way, dancing around, singing along and yet feeling this stab of pain because I knew somewhere, there is something even better and the possibility to be one with it, one with the music, with the sun and the sea and the feeling itself.

Another of these moments was when I had hypnosis for the first time in Spring 2008. I'd hardly slept for about three weeks and during Hypnosis, I relaxed and was able to go back to some of my favorite memories and to "spend some time there". I remember when the doctor "brought me back from it", it was hard, maybe even impossible to hide the huge smile I suddenly had on my face. Or in my seminars at university when we analyze a book and gain new insights.

And our journey to Canada in 2002. I think I had the strongest moment there. We were at the Muncho Lake, in northern BC and I did a walk on my own and only a few hundred meters from the campsite, there was suddenly nothing except nature: the lake, the mountains, trees, rocks, the sun and far behind me the Alaska Highway. I started dancing and the feeling of joy and longing was so strong and sweetly painful it seemed like it would tear me apart. During hypnosis, I used to go back to that moment. I came back totally changed.

Generally, I hardly dare to talk about this with any of my friends here in Bremen (or with most of my friends anywhere) because whenever I did try to explain it, I realized that people found it "weird" and couldn't understand it so eventually, I stopped talking about it - unless i find someone and "know" they'll understand. Right now, there are two people in Germany (both live near Bremen) whom I'd dare to talk to about it. But it's very hard to even find the words to describe it.

Hope this doesn't sound like I'm on drugs, I swear, I'm not, not even alcohol! :wink:
To thine own self be true!!! (Shakespeare)
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Re: Have you experienced Joy

Postby postodave » 14 Mar 2009, 22:58

Music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.
(T. S. Eliot)
So I drew my sword and got ready
But the lamb ran away with the crown
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Re: Have you experienced Joy

Postby Bluegoat » 25 Mar 2009, 16:56

I experienced this the day I decided I would become a Christian. It was a beautiful early summer day with a very green smell, and I was peeling parsnips. The earthy parsnip smell with the green smell seems to have triggered the feeling. Sometimes I get it from music.

I think perhaps it is the capacity for this feeling that is significant, and I think it is likely biological. And I think it is important that the feeling is confirmed by reason. Love moves us and reason carries us along.
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Re: Have you experienced Joy

Postby Áthas » 25 Mar 2009, 18:53

Somehow, I don't think it's necessarily tied to religion and I have to admit that it annoys me to see that most Christians seem to think only Christians can really know it or it must be the longing for Heaven. I don't think religion ever caused this for me.
To thine own self be true!!! (Shakespeare)
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Re: Have you experienced Joy

Postby Stanley Anderson » 25 Mar 2009, 22:14

Áthas wrote:Somehow, I don't think it's necessarily tied to religion and I have to admit that it annoys me to see that most Christians seem to think only Christians can really know it or it must be the longing for Heaven. I don't think religion ever caused this for me.

If you are talking about the particular sensation described by Lewis and for which he coined the word "Joy" then certainly non-Christians can experience it. This was in fact primarily how Lewis talks about it in SBJ -- ie, that it was a sensation he experienced before becoming a Christian (and certainly afterwards too, but that is only tacked on to the end of the book).

But the whole point of Lewis' use of the word "Joy" was to describe something that gave one the false impression (or at least the person experiencing it drew a false impression in his own mind) that the "intense longing" was created by the seeming object or event in front of him. And so the person would try to actually "get to that far hillside" that he seemed to long for, or "listen to that music again" that seemed to evoke the longing, or "smell the flower more" or whatever, and would then discover that those things were NOT in fact causing the intense longing feeling after all. He would find that they were only false leads.

Apparently the "object" of that intense longing feeling was someplace else or something other (so the one experiencing it would discover if he searched his truest feelings and not fool himself with lesser rationalizations, says Lewis). And going from Joy to Joy and from false lead to false lead (as Lewis claimed to have done exhaustively), Lewis claims that one either finally comes to the conclusion that there is no actual true "object" of Joy (an almost untenable conclusion since the longing is so strong as to overpower all other forms of reasoning), or that it must be a longing for God that we easily mistake for worldly longings instead.

Now you may disagree with Lewis' conclusion that it is actually a longing for God, but if you think of it as something that can be satisfied by the apparent object in front of you (or any other "object" in this world), then you are talking about something other than Lewis is talking about (and I'm not saying that this is the mistake you are making -- your descriptions in your post sound pretty close to what he is saying). But the only thing "Christians" (and Lewis in particular) are saying is that they believe they know the source or object of that intense longing. Again, you may disagree, but then at best all you can say is what Lewis himself said before his conversion -- ie "it is an intense longing for 'I know not what'".

And by the way, you ended with "I don't think religion ever caused this for me". I think this is a misunderstanding. I suspect even Lewis would agree with that. His point was definitely NOT that "religion" was now his method of experiencing Joy (he even wrote at least one poem called "Caught" that explicitly describes how religion almost seems to block out that one longed-for intensity). Religion, I'm sure he would say, is simply the response we submit to in obedience once we realize the source of that Joy and realize our duty to worship and praise that "source". The actual duty to submit to God's glory is our own decision to act in a proper fashion and may very well be in conflict with the ability of Joy to reach us (one reason might be that too much of that sort of intense longing might cause us to set up false gods in order to try to get "more" of it. But of course that's not necessarily true -- Lewis says he still experienced Joy after conversion, but that now he knew where it was coming from and didn't need to stand there gawking at what he know knew was only a "sign post" (ie, Joy). Instead could get on with walking along the road to the City of God that the sign post was pointing him towards.

The danger after conversion was mistaking the Joy as an end and focussing on it rather than as merely a sign post on the way.

…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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