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Spontaneity, Joy and Spirituality

"How does one develop the silence that allows for the blossoming of organic joy? By closely observing the activity of our internal discourse and by becoming conscious of its ongoing repetitiveness. We know how to escape the drivel of everyday life, but why is it that we are completely unable to escape our internal discourse which is so predictable and boring?" Daniel Odier, The Doors of Joy

What is spontaneity in spirituality? What is joy? And how can we talk about these without disappearing into a graduate seminar on the philosophy around these concepts?

The Cambridge Dictionary provides a simple definition of spontaneity: "The quality of being natural rather than planned in advance." This definition suggests something basic about spontaneity: it doesn't happen as a result of imposing our will upon reality. Spontaneity is something that occurs in life when we are open to the moment and, we might say, go with the flow. Spontaneity is an effortless openness to what is. It's the opposite of saying, "I don't want things to be the way they are. Things should be the way I imagine they should be, instead."

"The more rigid our certainties become, the more problems we have with a reality that refuses to enter into our plans." Daniel Odier, The Doors of Joy

One way to look at frustration is that it is something that happens when our experience of life is not occurring as we want it to. Reality is unfolding before us and we aren't satisfied with it. We had a carefully laid plan, a belief about ourselves or others, an ideological demand, or a fervent hope, and reality isn't taking any notice. Because we expect reality to conform to our hopes and dogmas, when reality unfolds stubbornly without reference to our demands we become frustrated.

"Our lack of suppleness puts us in permanent conflict with reality." Daniel Odier, The Doors of Joy

So, the ultimate cause of our dissatisfaction with reality is our refusal to accept what is--this breathing, pulsing, moment--and insisting instead on an alt