During some of my homework this week, I came across this quote:
I know a person is happy or not by the way he feels when others are happy, and the way he feels when others are unhappy.
It really struck a chord in me, and stayed with me for the past few days.
Sometimes we feel bad when we see others happy or succeeding, and it can be for different reasons. Maybe we've been hurt or betrayed by that person, we feel threatened in some way, or it just makes us feel sad about the status of our own goals and dreams. I admit that I can feel all three of these reasons sometimes, and that is ok. I'm human. And as long as I inquire into the feeling, it is a very positive thing.
What am I feeling and why? And bringing in this idea from the Yoga Sutra, what unhappiness in my life is this jealousy/anger/sadness pointing to? Where is my heart crying out for help?
We are not bad people. We are good! In Buddhism, it is believed that our true nature, that exists below the clouded veil of social conditioning, suffering, and fear, we are perfect, enlightened beings. Full of love and light and joy. When you have a dark thought or feeling, I believe it is your heart directing your attention to something it wants you to see, understand, and remedy.
So, the next time you feel jealousy or an unidentifiable negative emotion towards another person’s success, or even find yourself at the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s feeling sick and sad, get quiet and do some exploration. What are you feeling, why, and what area of your life is crying out for help? How can you bring some relief to it?
Certainly not the easiest of practices, but one that will change your life. Practice it, and be gentle with yourself. Instead of judging or feeling frustrated with your feelings, be compassionate, and know that there is a divine reason for everything, including jealousy and overeating ice cream. We just have to uncover it!