Hasidism emphasizes joy as a precondition to elevated spiritual awareness, and teaches the avoidance of melancholy at all costs. The consciousness of a loving, ever-present Creator should lead to a feeling of profound joy. Therefore the appropriate mood for worship is one of good cheer; whereas suffering impedes a proper relationship with God.
Joseph Campbell, contemporary theologian and best known for his study of mythology, tells his students, "Follow your bliss. Find where it is, and don't be afraid to follow it. Now, I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: sat-chit-ananda. The word "Sat" means being. "Chi" means consciousness. "Ananda" means bliss or rapture. I thought, 'I don't know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don't know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.' I think it worked.
Bliss, joy and rapture seem to be interchangeable when they are associated with higher consciousness. The change in state of consciousness in Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam is reported to be quite similar. The pursuit of yoga and the Buddhist Jhanas involve feelings of oneness with the world that give rise to a state of rapture. Christians also look at creation another way from the standpoint of Christ consciousness, rather than considering creation and life from a material perspective. Experiencing God through Christ enables the unit mind to arrive gracefully at the source of thought, the pure consciousness of God where everything is united and one.
What do YOU think?Artwork by Aerten Caislean Many thanks.