January 12, 2011

Jealous of a Flower? No Way!

Mudita is a feeling of delight at the good work (punya) done by another, even though he may be a rival. Through mudita, the yogi saves himself from much heart-burning by not showing anger, hatred or jealousy for another who has reached the desired goal which he himself has failed to achieve.
~B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga

It would be silly to be jealous of a flower, wouldn’t it?

A flowers beauty comes from the seed, and through careful cultivation and sunlight, it grows. Similarly, people develop out of their origins. Accomplishments come from a persons qualities and where they apply their time. So it is silly, not to mention wasteful of ones personal resources, to indulge in negative reactions to the accomplishments of others.

It would be absurd of me to be jealous of other bloggers when I realize that just like a flower is flowering, Jay is “Jay-ing”, Claudia is “Claudia-ing”, Bob is “Bob-ing”, Birdie is “Birdie-ing”, Waylon is “Waylon-ing”, and so on… I can appreciate how they create. Their blogs come naturally from their backgrounds and experience. If I want my blogging to be better I simply need to do more “Brooks-ing”. This will lead to increased satisfaction.

I have felt jealous of yoga teachers that are blessed with great opportunities that I wanted. Time has taught that there are usually great reasons why people are where they are. When I have taken the time to learn more about them I have tended to appreciate them more. I have learned to open myself to see the craft of other teachers I once felt competitive with.

There was also a time when a yoga teacher in town apparently felt that they were better qualified to teach a class that I had been teaching successfully for years. First this person applied for my job. When that didn’t work they wrote a letter to my employer that attempted to discredit my abilities, and signed it! So when questions came around, I asked to see this letter. Wow. I saw this letter that had a malicious intent directed at me. So I wrote back to this person and asked them to please not go after my jobs in the future, and I recommended that they direct their valuable energy toward them self in a helpful way, rather than using their energy attempting to tear others down. I kept my job.

So… Yeah.

It can be helpful just to realize that everybody is a creation of who they are and the forces that form them like genetics, upbringing and culture. It’s also important to realize that this everybody includes me. So if I catch myself baring an envious eye for someone else, it is most likely an indicator that I need to do something more with myself, or maybe even just to open my heart to see my situation better. Maybe I feel that I am lacking in the presence of someone who seems so far along. But if I really see what is going on, this can’t be so. I’m not really lacking. I may have a lot more work to do to feel accomplished, but I am not lacking because I have me.

There might be times when jealousy comes from an intuitive sense that someone else is showing up more authentically than ones self. And that might be difficult to experience, or it can be profoundly inspiring.

Mudita is a feeling of delight at the good work done by another…

It is relatively easy to delight in the beauty of a flower. But to experience the beauty in the work and presence of rivals is raising the bar to a new level of happiness and authenticity. And don’t people grow just as naturally and beautifully as a flower grows from a seed? To compare myself with someone who has a different past is a false comparison. I am not other people, I am me and I have my own unique beauty to show.

So when I feel inadequate next to someone else, I am lying to myself. I am expecting that my blessings are the same as someone else’s which is totally untrue.

What I believe that I can do is work. I can work to create a life situation that is true for myself. And when I am doing that to the best of my ability and making the best use of my resources I can stand in contentment. I do think that my ability to celebrate and delight in others is related to my commitment to myself and applying tangible effort toward making a life that is truthful for me.

Thank you for reading! I celebrate you! I do!

* This post is joyfully offered by Yogic Muse *

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