One of the basic principles in Kabbalah – mysticism, is that we are made of a G-dly soul and an animal soul. There are two drives inside of us that constantly fight with each other to gain control over our lives. The G-dly drive, and the one that pulls us down towards debased animalistic tendencies.
Another Bible mystical concept is that the entire universe comprises of four basic elements. The element of fire, air, water, and earth. These elements are found both in the spiritual and the physical, in the good and in the bad.
In his book on the basics of Chassidism, Rabbi Shnuer Zalman explains the roots of all the emotions that drive a person to the good and to the bad. “…Frivolity and scoffing, boasting and idle talk [emanate] from the element of Air; like air, they lack substance…”
In experiencing joy and happiness one must be very careful, the line isn’t crossed where joy turns to silliness, and in the attempt to be happy one turns to frivolity and foolishness. The Baal Shem Tov once said, “Foolishness, sadness and a feeling of self-worth are considered by the pious, as terrible deeds. Acute (honest) perception, joy from finding the good in everything, controlled restrained swiftness and enthusiasm, is considered to be great positive deeds.”
Real true joy, the one that reaches deep down in the gut, is not an empty, pointless, baseless happiness, without substance. The joy that is considered a great level of conduct and is a receptacle for all that is even better in one’s life, comes from discovering within oneself, within ones world, even the minutest amount of good and shining the light on it as brightly as possible. Real joy, either comes from something real, or is meant to lead to the realization that we are, and we have, something truly worthwhile.
In the book of Psalms, King David warns us not to associate and mingle with scoffers and those that ridicule everything. These people, in mysticism, are described by a very negative energy that describes an unrestrained irresponsible flow of energy. We all know, too much electricity, and the wrong amount of medicine, will harm an individual. When a person has no restraint in his behavior, even when on the surface it appears, and may very well make people laugh and be happy, in truth it is an expression of empty joy which will inevitably lead to more unhappiness and emptiness.
When a person develops within himself, “and my soul, may it be like dust before all …” a sense of humility before G-d, the Master of the Universe, and realizes that HE, is the source of all that is good, and HE bestows a person with way more than he really deserves, this will lead to a critical, wise and honest recognition of the self, and bring a very deep and powerful sense of joy and happiness in existence and the opportunities life provides every person every second of his/her existence.
One of the virtues, our sages tell us, a trusted pious person must attain, is that he refrains from excessive lightheadedness and laughter which in itself is negative and leads to more of the negative.
When a person’s joy and happiness springs from, and is connected with, holiness and G-dliness , even at the most jubilant and ecstatic moments a person will never lose himself, and will always remember who he is, and what is expected of him.
Being clear and aware of the two types of joy, the wild, empty, unrestrained type, and the pre-meditated joy, sometimes, one may benefit by starting the process from a very materialistic and physical happiness, like for example, enjoying a good meal during the holidays, or some great music when celebrating the Mitzvah of the marriage of a bride and groom.