Shahriar Shahriari

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Message of the Month

June, 1998

Joy

Every mystic, poet and philosopher tells us to find our joy in life and express it in the most creative and playful way that we can. Mystics like Rumi talk about the intoxicating joy of the mystical wine. Omar Khayyam reminds us of the temporal nature of our world, and reiterates that the only way to fulfill our purpose in life is to spread love and joy. Blake names a new born infant "Joy", and Nietzsche tells us that we should only believe in a God who knows how to dance. Are these merely whimsical fancies of men who were lost in their own ethereal world, or is there an element of truth to this?

It is fair to say that we pick our hobbies because we enjoy them. It is also fair to assume that although we may work hard, ultimately we do it because we want to have the means of enjoying what brings us joy in life. Better still, if we had the chance, we would spend more time on our hobbies than we would on our work… that is unless we are among the fortunate ones whose work is their hobby. Furthermore, we are more than willing to acquire the technical knowledge that we lack in order to pursue our hobbies.

It is also safe to say that we pay more attention to the things that we enjoy than to those we do not. What’s more, if we enjoy an endeavor, we feel more energized at the end of it, whereas if we do not, we feel somewhat drained and tired. If this is the case, should we not conclude that if we truly enjoy the work we do, we will put more attention into it with increasing energy, and as a result more quality? And is it not then safe to say that the automatic result of such devotion will be nothing less than excellence?

So if it is excellence that we seek, we must first seek our joy. If it is quality that we want to give, we must first be playful. Anything else is inefficient, ineffective, and insane.

What’s more, by pursuing our joy in this world, and by glowing with the naturally ensuing radiant happiness, we inspire others, we give them permission to pursue their joy. All socially sanctioned false behaviors will simply fall by the way side, because we have chosen to be joyful and not necessarily compliant.

And as if this is not enough in itself, if we truly bring about a world wherein we and everyone around us pursues his/her joy, then there is very little incentive for back-stabbing, bringing others down, or any other kind of destructive behavior. In other words, what seems to be a very selfish approach, ends up being the most selfless act we can choose to do.

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver, Canada
June 1998


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