Jealousy and the Aspirant


We’ve all felt it, envy and jealousy are common emotions.  We even have a saying to sanitize it into acceptance: “keeping up with the Jones’s.”  We know it’s not the healthiest of emotions, and we do try to tackle it from a psychological standpoint using therapeutic techniques.  Obviously, this is a great start, but what does jealousy look like from a spiritual lens?

For jealousy to sprout, a person’s perspective must be mired in duality.  And not just duality but also exclusivity.  Not only is there me and the other, but we are in competition.  Even that is not enough.  Not only are we in competition but I must win.  So, jealousy is rather quite far in the spectrum of pure inclusive beingness.  This might sound like a bad thing but it’s just a milestone.  Good and bad are mental judgements; instead, the aspirant always cultivates a beginner’s mind and views this as just a road marker in their spiritual path.  If jealousy is a constant companion, it’s just a pointer to an area for further learning.

So how do we move from feelings of jealousy to a more balanced state?  The building blocks of these emotions need to be uncovered and diminished.  Again, this can be done using psychological therapeutic techniques, as well as spiritual practices.  The false ideas to dissolve are:

  1. I am separate from everyone else
  2. If someone else wins, I am losing
  3. Life works the way I think it does, it is logical not mystical
  4. Everything is a transaction and I need to gain the greatest utility
  5. I am this body & mind, and my survival is key
  6. My happiness depends on external factors

Most people in the world still believe that these ideas are fundamentally true, but with these beliefs come pandemic levels of depression and anxiety that are prevalent in our world.  As we move slowly towards inclusivity and oneness, we begin to see that the structures which hold up jealousy just fall away.  If you see everyone as just a part of yourself, where is there room for jealousy?  The heart opens up and love flows instead.

So how do we move towards oneness?  There are many practical ways, and to be successful, we should habituate them all.  First, we give of ourselves to others – like volunteering.  Next, we bring playfulness into our life – playing just for the joy of it.  Also, we shift the focus from the external to the internal with introspective contemplation and various forms of meditation.  All of these will nurture inclusiveness, which naturally melts away envy.  Instead of suppressing thoughts of jealousy, we diminish the elements that feed it in the first place.

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