Verena Kast, a professor of psychology at the University of Zurich, has written an engaging and thought-provoking book on the neglected emotions of elation. Joy, inspiration, and hope have often been disparaged by scholars as childish and naïve but they are essential to psychic health and spiritual well-being.
Kast views joy as the doorway to inspiration and hope. It has many sources grace, discovery, delight and can provide buoyancy and self-assurance like nothing else. The author recommends keeping an autobiography of joy in order to realize how this emotion can color our days. Questions asked could include: What in my life has given me joy? How have I expressed my joy? How does joy affect my experience of myself? How does it affect my relationships? How do I keep control of my joy? What spoils it?
Kast celebrates inspiration as a heightened state of receptivity and renewal. She includes here commentary on the Christian story of Pentecost. The section on hope looks at the role of this complicated emotion in relating to the future and as an antidote to fear.
The emotions of elation can open up new doors of possibility for us. Or as Kast writes: "Think of a time when you were very much in love. Think about whether something new did not come into your life then. At such moments we cast off the old Adam or the old Eve, and what has been sleeping within suddenly awakens because someone is there to tell you, yes, you are all of that; you are wonderful and I love you. These are moments not only of the greatest joy; they are also moments when real changes can take place."
This paperback is brimming over with insights into the emotions of joy, inspiration, and hope.