To make a balloon light, fill it with hot air. To make your heart light, fill it with joy. Your heart is naturally filled with joy, but the joy gets squeezed out as you pile stress and worry on top of it. In order to connect with the basic joy of your heart, you have to practice checking in with it. You can check in with your basic joy by filling your heart with hot air, like a baloon. When you are feeling disconnected from your joy, take in a long breath for your heart. Breath out all the new air and the old air that was in your lungs. Whenever you remember to do that, you will feel a sense of relief. That feeling of relief is a touch of joy.
Creating joy is a serious business, but it cannot be done overly seriously. There has to be room for levity in your practice. If you are carrying the weight of an unchangeable past and the fear of an unknowable future, the present will seem very serious. That seriousness can justify almost any action. That seriousness can be an excuse for explosive anger. It can pin you down in depression. It can give you a trigger to relapse, or it can just chip away at you with steady stress. Just recognizing that feeling of seriousness and reminding yourself about how serious you are taking yourself creates a little joy and opens a channel to practice light heartedness.
By practicing light heartedness and breathing joy into your seriousness you gain a sense of control over your situation. When you recognize that you can handle your stress, depression, anger or addiction habits, an attitude of light heartedness becomes easier to maintain. When you maintain an attitude of light heartedness it becomes easier to manage your stress, depression, anger, or addiction habits.
When you take in a mindful breath to help you address the seriousness of your situation, remember that it is a completely ridiculous thing to do. How could you imagine that a few deep breaths could change your life. Then watch it work. It’s funny how that happens. Ha, ha, ha.