Sunday, August 23, 2015

Inform But Not Override: On Not Being Jealous

When I read this week's slogan...
Don't be jealous.
...I rolled my eyes and winced a little bit. Some of these tenets are things that I've had handled for years, or my whole life. This one felt like Chekawa Yeshe Dorje was speaking directly to me. I know better. I know that we only see the surface of other's lives and even with our closest friends we don't see the whole picture. I also know, and really believe, that "comparison is the thief of happiness," but I have a hard time acting on the knowledge. has an equally pertinent translation: "don't be hypersensitive." And their explanation confirms how much this applies to me:
"Neither stability or momentum will develop if you constantly react to minor irritations, slights, or inconveniences."
I can't tell you how many times that has happened to me, even just in the last week.

Judy Lief's piece on this teaching brought the two translation into peace with each other:
"This slogan is not only about jealousy, but also about overall irritability. If your meditation practice or mind training is making you even more irritable and touchy than before, something is off. You should be less susceptible to jealousy and irritability, not more so."
She goes on to talk about how jealousy is really another disguise for self-pity, and that we have to be honest with ourselves about our emotions and our state. It's not that we shouldn't notice the differences between ourselves and others, it's just that we shouldn't lend it so much weight or so much emotion. Or, if we cannot avoid the weight and emotion, we should just observe it and learn from it - like we can observe and learn from any emotion.

Finally, she gives her readers a very practical way to apply this teaching:
"Think of someone you know who you are jealous or envious of, and take a look at all the characteristics that spark that feelings. Now think of qualities or circumstance you have that might make someone else envious. There is no end to jealousy once it takes hold. Notice how it feels to be captured by jealousy and how it feels when you are able to drop it before it grows."
I think about my resume, and how - at the beginning of my career - I felt so jealous of the model resumes I saw. Now I look at my resume and it's just as good as those I saw when applying for my first job, if not better. In my career, I let my jealousy inform but not override me. I need to learn how to do that with the rest of my life.

So that's what I'll be working on. Until next time, namaste and all that.

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