“The path doesn’t save all its pleasure for the end. You can enjoy it now.” – Thanissaro Bhikku
If you try to find joy only in the result, you get robbed of the countless moments of joy that are possible along the way. You may think of the time spent on the path as something that has to be endured or suffered to reach that outcome.
The joy is in the effort.
“It is the effort which gives joy; a human being who does not know how to make an effort will never find joy. Those who are essentially lazy will never find joy — they do not have the strength to be joyful! It is effort which gives joy. Effort makes the being vibrate at a certain degree of tension which makes it possible for you to feel the joy.
It is only effort, in whatever domain it be – material effort, moral effort, intellectual effort – which creates in the being certain vibrations which enable you to get connected with universal vibrations; and it is this which gives joy. It is effort which pulls you out of inertia; it is effort which makes you receptive to the universal forces.” – The Mother
According to Thich Nhat Hanh, even a chore like dish washing can be joyful and therapeutic.
“Washing the dishes is at the same time a means and an end – that is, not only do we do the dishes in order to have clean dishes, we also do the dishes just to do the dishes and live fully each moment while washing them.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“I have known such people, who were capable of making the necessary effort (not a prudent and calculated effort but a spontaneous one) in no matter what field: material, vital, intellectual, etc., and in this effort there was always joy. For example, a man sits down to write a book, he makes an effort which sets vibrating something in his brain to attract ideas; well, suddenly, this man experiences joy. It is quite certain that, whatever you do, even the most material work, like sweeping a room or cooking, if you make the necessary effort to do this work to the maximum of your ability, you will feel joy, even if what you do is against your nature. When you want to realize something, you make quite spontaneously the necessary effort; this concentrates your energies on the thing to be realized and that gives a meaning to your life. This compels you to a sort of organisation of yourself, a sort of concentration of your energies, because it is this that you wish to do and not fifty other things which contradict it. And it is in this concentration, this intensity of the will, that lies the origin of joy. This gives you the power to receive energies in exchange for those you spend.” – The Mother
So, what appeals to you more? The pursuit of something or the achievement of the end result? What are some ways you can find joy along the way?
For further reading:
1) “Collected works of Mother“, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
2) “The Miracle of Mindfulness“, Thich Nhat Hanh