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Of the 4 immesurables, I’ve so far mostly focused on the first two, that is loving kindness and compassion, and although I theoretically knew about the sympathetic joy and equanimity, they were never really a big part of my practice.
Lately though, I’ve been more and more drawn towards this sympathetic joy, as I’ve begun to experience more jealousy in my life. When you look at it, it is so weird, how can I not be happy for the joy someone is experiencing? Does it feel like somehow there’s not enough happinness to go around and if someone else has it then I’m somehow deprived? A pretty claustrophobic view, I’d say.
And if I truly love another person, would it not be nice to be happy for them, be joyful for the joy and happiness they’re experiencing, even if they are not with me?
My experience with it, that these days, sometime’s it’s amazingly easy. Catching the jealousy when it’s still a tiny thought, and if I then really look at it, it disappears and changes into warmth and wish for the other to be happy.
Other times, it is not so, and instead it grows into thoughts of even wanting the other’s person’s happiness to end, just because i’m not involved. It is much harder to notice and acknowledge these kinds of thoughts, as they’re laden with guilt and “badness”. However, they are just thoughts, with no substance whatsoever, and there’s no need to take them personally. They can be touched and allowed to go, dissolve into the space of open sky.
They can be used to further generate compassion for the plight of all us trapped in our egos, unable to rejoice in the happiness of our loved ones.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter what kind of response there is, as both can be used to move one further. The practice is not about changing or improving oneself (what self??), but of seeing clearly and with lots of warmth. More on this topic some other time, as it’s getting quite late…