Inner Peace and Joy: Joy Defined

When I was a student at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, we always had guest speakers who would come to our center and share their knowledge with us. One particular speaker came and shared with our class the origin of "Yo Momma" jokes and how the slaves used "Yo Momma" jokes as a survival skill to develop tolerance and keep their Joy.

Can Slaves Be Joyful?
If I could read your mind, I bet you are saying "How can slaves be happy when they were subjugated to so much abuse?" Now, I did not say that the slaves were happy in their condition, what I said was that the slaves were taught how to maintain their Joy while they were going through their tribulations.

First let me say that there is a humongous difference between being "Happy" and having "Joy". You see a person can be happy merely because things are going their way or when their surroundings are peaceful but when chaos arises in their lives they lose their happiness and are sad. That is because happiness is conditional and temporary.

On the other hand, when a person has achieved the mental state of Joy they can be cheerful no matter what is going on in their life because that person has learned how to condition their mind to be in a state of Joy. Joy is different from happiness because one is based on what is going on inside of the person's mind and the other is based on what is going on in the person's life.

How Were "Yo Momma" Jokes Used to Help the Slaves to Maintain Joy?
The "Yo Momma" jokes were created as a survival tactic by the elder male slaves to keep the young male slaves alive. The younger male slaves were being killed because they did not tolerate the abusive behaviors of the slave owners.The elder slave men got together and came up with the idea of telling "Yo Momma" jokes to prepare the younger male slaves mentally for the abusive behaviors of the slave owners. The elder slaves knew that if they could get the younger males to tolerate jokes about their mothers and laugh, then the young men would be able to mentally tolerate anything.

The Lesson To Be Learned From Telling "Yo Momma" Jokes
What the elders did was instilled inside of the younger males that the slave owners may have controlled their physical condition but they did not have control over their minds. The elders taught the younger males how to be mentally prepared to maintain their Joy.
Like the younger male slaves, your ability to maintain your mental state of Joy is going to be based on how well you are able to respond to your physical condition. You have to learn how to mentally be prepared to tolerate whatever is going on your life. This process is going to require that you train your mind to work from the inside out

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