At a Jewish wedding and other happy times, while the band plays an upbeat melody, the guests form a circle and dance.
Once in a while they might spot a downcast person standing in the corner, perhaps unable to chase her personal troubles from her mind. The others will reach out and grab her, pulling her to her feet and forcing her to join them in their joyful dance. As her feet move faster and faster, she claps her hands and begins to smile at the other smiling faces. She’s transformed.
It is very good to set one’s dark bitterness and suffering aside and be happy, even for awhile.
But Rebbe Nachman of Brelsov tells us there is something even greater than setting our sorrow aside (although this is indeed an admirable achievement): Pursue and grab hold of your “sadness and sighing”. Bring them—against their will—into the circle dance of happiness and “introduce them to joy” so that they are actually transformed into joy.
Gloominess and depression are persistent tricksters, rooted in the side of evil, but happiness is holy. So if you want to lift those stubborn shysters up into the side of holiness, you may have to force them, dragging them with you into the holy dance of happiness.
Based on Likutey Moharan Tinyana (II), Lesson 24
[…] Clapping your hands and dancing can bring you to experience joy, even if you don’t feel like it. […]