Thursday, December 28, 2006

Meditation on jealousy

The last few days I've been looking for material on afflictive emotions. This week, for example, we talked about loneliness during the ongoing classes.

Today, I came across a meditation on jealousy that I think will really help those who suffer from this malady. It is constructed largely in the form of reflection questions:
- Think about a situation that makes me feel jealous.
- How does jealousy feel?
- Are there any thoughts that keep on repeating themselves in my mind? - What is the object I really want to have, that the other has no right to?
- Why do I have more right to this than the other?
- Does my jealousy help me in getting it?
- Is this object really that important in my life?
- Would I be really happy when I had it, and could I remain happy?
- Why is it so difficult to feel happy that this other person has it?
- When I rejoice in the good fortune of the other, both of us will be happy!
- Try to really give the object to the other, and feel happy about your generosity!
I really like that next to the last point. This is, of course, the Divine Abode* called sympathetic joy - the ability to rejoice in the good fortune or success of another. It strikes me that this is the central antidote for jealousy.

Just because you're not eaten up with jealousy doesn't mean you don't have it. Look for subtle signs that you might be experiencing it even unconsciously. Perhaps a way to get started is to examine all the ways you could practice sympathetic joy but, for some reason, don't.

We will increase our level of happiness immeasurably if we learn to let go of all the jealousy hidden in our innermost experience.

* The four Divine Abodes are: compassion, loving-kindness, sympathetic joy and equanimity. They are sometimes called the four sublime states.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:32 PM

    Thank you for this post! ~Jenna


New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.