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    Thread: Are joy and sorrow the same thing?

    1. #1
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      Are joy and sorrow the same thing?

      Lately I've been hearing this a lot, and it's actually making quite a bit of sense, experientially, though I can't really explain why.

      I'm not only talking about how tremendous sorrow opens one up to tremendous joy because of it's ability to cause appreciation, or joy opening one up to sorrow because of its ability to cause loss. I'm talking about the two feelings actually being the same feeling. Does anyone have any experiences of this? Or possible rationalizations of it? I can imagine it seems plainly false to some, and I can't exactly discredit that opinion easily.

      But does anyone believe the two can be experienced as the same? Or do you believe it can only work like a pendulum or a scale?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      They are the same, but different.
      Having one without the other would be difficult, as each is much sweeter, after tasting the other
      Picture speaks a clearer story than I can tell
      After swithcing between the two so often, you may be getting them confused with each other

      Ying_Yang_by_GzUnit.jpg
      Last edited by TiredPhil; 04-02-2013 at 08:56 AM. Reason: Because.

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      No, I wouldn't say they're the same thing. At least not for me. Maybe some people are wired differently in that respect.

      The only connection I see, besides those already mentioned, is that sorrow makes one stop caring about anything other than whatever they're feeling bad over. It's usually over something 'big', like the perceived failure of one's entire life. They've given up, they don't care about the stupid little stresses of every day anymore. That side effect of sorrow may actually be a secret joy. But the sorrow itself still isn't joy.

      But there are different things someone might mean by 'sorrow'. If the person is feeling hopeless enough, they may enter a state of mind in which they're finding beauty in their sorrow. They're looking at the situation from the outside, and the misery becomes so intense it just sort of stops mattering, it becomes almost funny. I'm not sure how to explain it, but when sorrow becomes that intense it may be the same as joy.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      sorrow makes one stop caring about anything other than whatever they're feeling bad over.
      Joy can make one stop caring about anything other than whatever they're feeling joyous about.

      Perhaps they are the polar opposites of the same thing, just as shadow is the absence of light.

      ..still kind of a stretch.
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      Depending on your age, and experiences in life, sorrow can be a comforting feeling.
      Knowing how to find its source can bring instant relief.
      To overcome sorrow completley is to lose a part of yourself.
      If you have reached this stage, it is like losing an annoying friend. You are glad to see them go, but they are still gone.

      Same with fear, and lots of other emotions that you think you have.
      Once you reach a certain point in life, a lot of you can just die.
      It might be fear, or sadness, but once they are gone, you feel as if a part of you is missing somehow.

      This is so hard to put into words, I now know why those fat dudes, half way up mountains, speak in riddles.
      They are only riddles to those who do not understand, or are not ready to accept a change.

      Is all this clear, or am I ranting again ?????????
      Last edited by TiredPhil; 04-02-2013 at 03:40 PM. Reason: Spellin corektion

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      On Joy and Sorrow

      Quote Originally Posted by Kahlil Gibran
      Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
      And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
      And how else can it be?
      The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
      Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
      And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
      When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
      When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

      Some of you say, "Joy is greater thar sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
      But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
      Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

      Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
      Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
      When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
      My sangha leader has expressed an experience where he felt intense suffering, and then he felt intense suffering and intense joy at the same time, and then he realized the two feelings were actually the same feeling. I haven't experienced it the same way, but I have noticed that my sorrow is a gateway into joy. I do not switch out of sorrow, necessarily, I revel in it and the feeling of facing my sorrow is joyous.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Hmmm.

      I appreciate this thread.
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      This sounds like something akin to what you'd realise when on a psychedelic. I'm not joking. Since apparently meditation can lead to some of the same altered states of consciousness, perhaps that is what your sangha leader experienced. I can picture it during a psychedelic trip, but not in my normal state of consciousness. What I think it really boils down to is that when on a psychedelic I could feel a shared appreciation of both feelings and while feeling sorrow, I would be overcome with joy because how beautiful the emotion, situation, and everything is, and it would all appear to be the same thing. However right now, I would say there is a clear distinction between the two feelings. I would therefore have to say that the answer is complicated, mostly because there is more than one answer.
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      A state of mind does not exist, until a person creates one.
      Fear, Hate, Love, Joy, Rage, Envy, etc, etc
      You can, and do, choose between these states on a subconcious level.
      After a great deal of seeking, you can remove the unwanted emotions, and start to choose which state of mind to be in.
      You just have to 'realise' where emotions/thoughts are coming from.

      Here is a simple exercise for a beginner.

      Fast for a day ( If medicaly fit )
      You should drink water only.
      After a few hours, you will get an unusual sensation in your body.( Not your stomach )
      Try to see where the sensation of hunger is coming from.
      The results will surprise many members.
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      Usually the weird feeling is from a low blood glucose level. I get you're trying to go beyond that, but you can't simply ignore biology because you're speaking on a metaphysical level.

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      I've definitely had moments a couple years ago where I was so incredibly stressed out and upset/miserable, that I would find myself suddenly laughing and feeling almost exhilarated. not sure if that's quite what you are after though.

      Edit: Now that I think about it... while I have been so miserable that I became almost happy, I've not been so happy that I suddenly felt sorrow. But maybe some have?

      Also, the fact that people sometimes cry when overjoyed also lends a little credibility to the theory, perhaps.
      Last edited by Alucinor XIII; 04-04-2013 at 07:23 PM.
      Rawr!

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      Scientific name - Ambivalence

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      Quote Originally Posted by snoop View Post
      Usually the weird feeling is from a low blood glucose level. I get you're trying to go beyond that, but you can't simply ignore biology because you're speaking on a metaphysical level.
      He's talking about going through hunger in order to bring attention to sensation of hunger rather than escaping the sensation by feeding. The weird feeling isn't the goal of the exercise.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Have you guys ever smashed your knee so hard that you laugh?
      ...Happened to me.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      He's talking about going through hunger in order to bring attention to sensation of hunger rather than escaping the sensation by feeding. The weird feeling isn't the goal of the exercise.
      I promise that I am not masochistic, and never have been. But I once, slowly, jammed a thumbtack through the thickest part of my middle finger throughout the course of an hour, and focused on it... I kept repeating, "What IS this? Why does it have such a powerful impact on my state of being? Why can't I truly ignore this sensation known as pain?" ...just fascinated.
      I have never since done such a thing. It was a pleasant experiment, and it wasn't very fruitful. To this day, it still baffles me. I don't care what the science textbook says about it either. I'm not talking about the fact of the matter. I'm talking about that part of consciousness that exists only when triggered by nerve endings, and its tangible characteristics (or whatever is closest).
      Last edited by sloth; 04-06-2013 at 04:30 AM.
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      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      I have been through depressions where I was a very long way from feeling joy. I prefer joy.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      He's talking about going through hunger in order to bring attention to sensation of hunger rather than escaping the sensation by feeding. The weird feeling isn't the goal of the exercise.
      After trying the exercise for the first time, I thought that my stomach ached for food. This proved to be wrong.
      There were no sensations coming from my stomach at all.
      I actualy felt a strange sensation in my throat for a while.
      This sensation did not seem to stay in any one place. It would travel from my throat to mouth, and often just disappear for hours at a time.
      Awareness of a chemical change in my body was noticed after 8 hours fasting. Stomach groaning, and churning, but this was not a sensation of hunger.
      After the 24 hour fast, the taste of food seemed to be different. Richer, tastier, delicious in fact.
      My body had released chemicals into my brain to reward me for eating. Same chemical you get when smoking marijuana ( THC )
      Like a master teaching a servant, my brain was conditioning me to look after my body.

      Hunger is another sensation that has grown with us, into our very being.
      As soon as you realise this experiantialy, you can control it much better.
      Hunger does not exist in the form we think it does.
      It is more of an inbuilt survival instinct.

      If you can slowly master something as simple as hunger, you are well on your way to waking up.
      Quick warning - Do not try any of this, if you have health issues of any kind.

      Opinions please

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      A friend told me once that people are in control of your own happiness, that stuck with me because he was 100% correct. To simply compare something like sorrow seems rather irrelevant if you have the desire to be happy. Now I don't know about you guys, but what I want out of this world is to learn. Learn as much as I can about everything and anything. I know that sorrow just doesn't sit right with me. I lived a very sorrowful life for too long a few years ago. I went through somewhat of a conversion, and now I'm a very happy joyful person. As with the mass consensus, I prefer having joy

      That being said I felt drastically different, I perceive more things now that my mood is brighter and jubilant, rather than when I was sad. When I was sorrowful I was sort of stuck in a way of a very narrow minded way of thinking, and I wouldn't allow change. Now I am very malleable in my ways of thinking, I take in all sorts of criticism and everyones opinion counts. I am open to change and I have a sense of freedom almost, as if I was released from a metaphorical prison.

      I would have to say with all that being said, that I believe the two ways of living are in contrast with one another.
      Last edited by quassom; 04-19-2013 at 07:09 AM.
      I'm always happy.

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      I do not believe they are the same, but rather they cannot exist without each-other.

      This reminds me of the time I took multiple drugs at once my tools of choice were magic mushrooms,Ritalin, and cannabis. At a certain point in the trip I felt many feelings and emotions that would be considered "different" at one time but they were all one feeling very hard to explain, I felt evil but at the same time I felt good, I felt hot but also I felt cold, I felt happiness but at the same time I felt sad, I felt tired but I was also surging with energy, I felt pain but it didn't hurt these feelings and emotions aswell as every feeling/emotion imaginable. They were all happening simultaneously I could tune into one feeling at will which would become more intense than the other feelings I could still feel the other emotions and feelings they were sort of playing in the background (IF that makes sense.) although for the majority I was feeling them all simultaneously and with such intensity with my language limiting me it was overall a "nice feeling" I would like to say neutral but it was absolutely an amazing experience, at the time I imagined it's how god felt if I ever imagined him as a separate entity. going into it in more depth I didn't attach a negative or positive label to any of the individual feelings for example I felt pain and it hurt but at the same time It did not "hurt" as contradictory as that may be I didn't associate "hurting" as negative it was just a feeling without a label of bad or good, I recognized all of the feelings and emotions I have been well acquainted with them many times before they all felt similar the difference was I was't attaching labels to the individual emotions or the feelings following. all sensations/emotions/feelings I was receiving simply put I felt them and recognized them but didn't attach my usual label to them they were not negative or positive, this whole experience lasted about 10 minutes.

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      Hm.
      I would have to say they are distinctly different, despite their similarities.
      Similar to how complete loss and complete emptiness are distinctly different, yet very similar.

      To guess at this difference,
      perhaps with sorrow there is still attachment to something that is no longer,
      but with joy it exists more naturally with there being nothing, no attachment, and with the impermanent nature of the Universe.

    21. #21
      Xei
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      Joy is not sorrow and red does not look like blue.
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      How do you explain the difference between red and blue?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    23. #23
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      To clarify, though I think you took my meaning, I'm talking about the subjective experience of red and blue, rather than physical red and blue light. How do I "explain" the difference? It's a non sequitur. I don't. You can't. What's an "explanation"? What would such an "explanation" even look like? Explanations are just expressing facts in terms of more basic facts. "Red looks different from blue" is one of those atomic facts of our psychology which has no simpler expression, but at the same time is completely indubitable. It's like a "grammar" of the mind, which has to be there before we can think anything else. Thinking and explaining is all about patterns and the lack of patterns, and as patterns are all about subjective similarities, to be able to get off the ground our minds have to recognise some kind of basic ineffable similarities, such as those between two colours, or two musical notes, or two shapes. Biologically speaking these are unconscious functions performed by the brain. Joy is not sorrow because joy is not sorrow.
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    24. #24
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      OP,

      I'm not sure if you want an answer or if you simply enjoy posing questions and debating.

      But joy is simply a name we give to a flow of energy of a general character. There is no absolute definition of joy, it is simply an agreed-upon place-marker terminology for an experience of energy that many people have experienced and which we desire to share. So we make up a word and assume that what we experienced is what the other experienced when they used the same word. It is actually never the same.

      The name of anything is not the thing. It is simply an approximation of our judgements about it.

      If we experience a flow of energy and we describe it as joy, we are basically simply saying that we are enjoying this experience of energy flow. If we experience an energy flow that we do not enjoy, we can call it sorrow. Just as the taste of some food can be enjoyable and some not, if they supply the exact same nutritional value we can say that energetically they are the same, even though our experience of them is different.

      If we get rid of our labels and value judgments, we simply experience the flow of energy. Pleasure can be the same as pain. If you follow the flow of energy without judgment, the energy reveals its true nature to you. The nature of the energy behind joy and sorrow can be experienced as the same energy, merely having distinctive flavors, like light having the flavors of red or blue.

      Some of my deepest realizations have been as a result of my willingness to experience the depths of sorrow without judgment, being willing to let the sorrow destroy me if that is what is to happen. In my case it did not destroy me, but it destroyed something and I believe that what was destroyed was the resistance to accepting a feeling that I found disagreeable. After that resistance was dissolved, I was freer and more expansive. A place I might also have gotten to through the experience of joy.

      JJ




      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      Lately I've been hearing this a lot, and it's actually making quite a bit of sense, experientially, though I can't really explain why.

      I'm not only talking about how tremendous sorrow opens one up to tremendous joy because of it's ability to cause appreciation, or joy opening one up to sorrow because of its ability to cause loss. I'm talking about the two feelings actually being the same feeling. Does anyone have any experiences of this? Or possible rationalizations of it? I can imagine it seems plainly false to some, and I can't exactly discredit that opinion easily.

      But does anyone believe the two can be experienced as the same? Or do you believe it can only work like a pendulum or a scale?

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      Different emotions tend to activate different neural patterns. Happiness (including joy) and sadness in particular behave differently on brain scans.

      So if joy and sorrow are the same thing in some sense, that's not how the brain generally perceives them.
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