On Friday, I was coaching on Fish Hoek beach when we saw a school of dolphins. Not far away, they were swimming close to the surface, leaping forward half way out of the water and heading towards an unknown destination in their peculiar determined way like they often do. One thing was different this time, though : the leading dolphin and a few others behind him in the group were jumping far out of the water, straight up, doing summersaults backwards and forwards in all sorts of twisted ways! It was absolutely spectacular! Other people had noticed their unusual behaviour as well and stopped whatever they were doing to watch.

I always thought that dolphins collectively chase a shoal of fish when they swim in a group on the surface, but they were clearly jumping for joy here! What’s more, this exuberant display of fun and happiness was contagious since more and more dolphins started to breach and all the spectators had a big smile on their faces, too. Dolphins are well known for their playful behaviour, and this reminded me that joy is also a part of our essence as human beings. Most of us have buried it beneath layers of judgements and repressed feelings, though - when have you last felt the urge to jump for joy?

The most joyful times in my own life are when I allow myself to be free. To be joyful is to hold on to nothing and to have no restrictions. I am free when I observe nature, when I forget my own self-importance and the pressure to perform, when I am no longer offended by the actions of others, nor in need of their approval. My best creative work is done when I am at peace with myself, often by myself, yet never separate from the source of human inspiration. Freedom and joy are inseparable - they flow out of a healthy disposition as activities with no intent to do harm.

If we accept that feelings of hatred, violence and envy make joy impossible, we have found a way to uncover it. “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way”, Eykis says in Wayne Dyer’s book “Gifts from Eykis” : allow yourself to be free of doubt, gloom, bitterness and fear as often as you can, every day. This freedom will produce the joy that will give you new ideas to do more productive work, be a better husband, father, teacher or writer and help you share this joy with all who care to know about it.

Joy is the natural state of being for anything that lives and the only thing that can prevent joy from governing our lives is the human mind creating unreal scenarios suppressing it. Authentic joy is more than temporary fulfillment of bodily pleasures – it is the mind that heals the body and it is the mind where joy originates. Nevertheless, we must allow our bodies to express our joy – what else do we see in the glorious manifestation of nature all around us ? Make up your mind to do something wonderfully joyous at least once a day, whatever tickles your fancy : play with a puppy, eat a cookie, tell a joke – or do summersaults like the dolphins.

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Author's Bio: 

Berend Lange is a Management Consultant and Practicing Coach in Cape Town / South Africa. He believes that personal growth is a prerequisite for professional success and works according to his credo "You can best succeed by helping others to succeed."He also publishes a weekly eNewsletter COMPASS with many useful tips, hints and links.