When someone announces some good in their life, some success or triumph how do you react? Most likely if it has nothing to do with what you want, your path, goals, aspiration or dreams you are thrilled and you can share in the joy with that person. But how is it when someone tells you about a success or joy and it is something that you want more than anything. This could be a promotion at work, the baby you never had, a relationship your friend has started with someone, a win in lotto. Can you share in their joy then or do you feel a slight twist of the heart?
I contemplated this for 45 minutes during a yoga practice after someone told me about a small success of theirs. Instead of my usual joyful practice it was just 45 minutes of suffering. Why did they get that? It’s not right? Doesn’t anyone see that? The usual bratty comments piled up on top of one another, a slip stream of a story threatening to pull me right off my yogic rail.
The greater our reaction to someone’s success is a barometer of how much we want or are attached to something. For me it is my yoga career, but you will have your own button pusher and it is usually based around the thing/s that you value the most. Somewhere,also, tied up with that may be a pessimistic thought that you will never attain what it is you want, maybe you believe you are not quite good/strong/young/beautiful/friendly/clever enough to get there. When we instead image ourself as someone who is not lacking then envy is less likely to split us from our faith or belief in ourself.
The bramaviharas are a recipe for practicing and containing these uprisings or jealousy within us. They state that when others have success we should cultivate ‘delight in their virtuosity’. By showing happiness towards others’ success we can forestall feelings of envy or jealousy. By appreciating the success in others we will inspire and cultivate it within ourselves.
Frank Jude Boccio writes
Walking this morning, I smile
A brand new day is before me.
I aspire to live each moment mindfully
And to look upon all beings
With the eyes of kindness and compassion.
May you,and all other beings, be happy and free from suffering.
Practice for this week. If you feel the pull of envy take some time to recite a few lines from this poem or to cultivate the idea of delight in others success. See how it can turn your day around.