We live in a culture that affords little room for acceptance when it comes to the big green monster of envy. As children we are taught to feel shame about such a yearning for what another has. This leads to a whole culture who lacks language and tools for looking across the river and seeing something you like in another’s bountiful field. Step one in accepting jealousy is to distill this strange cultural conversation around shame. You are not a bad person to wish for something more, end of story. Step two hurdle: acknowledge the despair and self-pity that can follow on the heels of jealousy. To look with honesty at the situation often proves to absolve despair, and can even be an outlet for opening deeper conversation. By seeing that all is not entirely ruined, a path may begin to present itself. In this conversation, it is safe to ask “what are you going to do about it?”, and wait for an answer of empowerment and a plan.
Perhaps a new perspective is in order on the completely natural experience of wishing for what is out there. In the realm of pure potential, the teaching is to accept the possibility of anything you desire becoming real. This is one of the tenets of the yoga, yes? That with practice, over time, a human will be capable of breaking the bonds of limitation that a human form experiences and be immersed in pure unbounded bliss. Rarely, I think, do we as humans on the ground feel jealousy for such enlightenment, more like inspiration. This is a sweet teaching in and of itself. If the highest order of desire is something we see in another and only respect and admire, can’t we get past coveting the small stuff?
A higher teaching on jealousy is to look to the immeasurable means of loving, mudita. Mudita translates to sympathetic joy and is an offering of the heart’s highest to look with happiness upon another’s good fortune. The principle behind this practice speaks to the Dalai Lama’s invitation that we raise the opportunities for joy by 7 billion plus by celebrating another’s good tidings. But this is a high form of peace. My offering today is to look for the good in the discomfort of feeling jealousy. Accept the gift it is to have a model for what you wish. It is truly abundance in reality to be able to look to another for an example of how to climb the peaks that seem so daunting and faraway. What a sweet gift it is to have a teacher, and imagine, gasp! We would bolster the courage to ask them for insight and guidance for the journey.
Love and Peace for what is, Suki