February 17, 2011

It's not a zero-sum game: Day 17 of the 28 Day Meditation Challenge

I visited Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche in Boulder on Monday and before that spent some time reading his books. I particularly enjoyed reading about the folly of  jealously in The Light Comes Through: Buddhist Teachings on Awakening Our Natural Intelligence (I highly recommend it). I don't normally think of myself as a jealous person, but reading through the chapter on envy I had to ask myself: Do I always rejoice in others' success? Or do I sometimes feel a twinge of self-judgment?

Since we're sitting the 28-day challenge this month, I thought I'd turn to Real Happiness for more guidance. It didn't disappoint—here's what I found:


Enough Happiness to Go Around

Sometimes, when I'm having a hard time feeling sympathetic joy for another person's good fortune, I ask myself the question: What would I gain from this person's not getting such and such? And it is quite clear to me that I don't benefit at all from someone else's loss.

Often, without consciously realizing it, we're convinced that the good thing someone else got was destined for us but got detoured to them by some hideious, unjust twist of fate. But, of course, we need to look at that assumption.

Cultivating sympathetic joy opens the door to realizing that the happiness of others doesn't take anything away from us. In fact, the more joy and success there is in the world, the better it is for everyone.

If you've got any questions about dealing with jealousy, you can ask Sharon a question directly here.




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