Joy is our birthright. It was Jesus’ default position and it is meant to be ours.
Have you watched a wanted baby in its mother’s arms? When she gazes into her newborn’s face, totally enraptured, she is pouring love and nurture into that child. Within just a few days the baby’s eyes are riveted on hers as it receives that deep sense of affirmation for just being. Later her look will cause the little one to smile back and even wriggle with delight.
This bond, this exchange of love through look, Drs. James G Friesen and E. James Wilder call “eye synchronization.” They have written all about it in their book Living From the Heart Jesus Gave You. (You see it also in the faces of couples who are in love. They are not sitting side by side but facing each other, looking into each other’s face, drinking in every expression, delighting in and enjoying the other person.)
According to Friesen and Wilder, eye synchronization is like an electromagnetic connectedness that transmits a sparkle–and elicits a sparkle in return. It creates a capacity for joy. Throughout life, when a person has a healthy joy capacity, s/he can experience bad things and negative emotions and still return to that hub of joy.
But many babies don’t get this kind of pleased attention and eye contact. Experiences that produce terror or despair overwhelm and snuff out the joy. Growing up, the child or adult finds him/herself lost in fear or despair or anger and has a hard time finding the way back to joy.
For these people, eye contact is difficult because it means feeling vulnerable. These people need safe relationships where they can look into the eyes of a spouse, parent, friend, or even stranger–someone who is glad they exist–and exchange mutual assurances of value, significance, and caring.
The good news is, the “joy center” of the brain can grow. The most neglected person can enlarge hi/r joy capacity at any stage of life–and thrive!
The Life Model: Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You, by James G. Friesen and E. James Wilder. http://lifemodel.org/shopping/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=1&zenid=e9062cafdb73400e6e944fed211d67ca