Friday, January 22, 2010

Who would be jealous of a flower?

"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, 46th paragraph of the Introduction.

It would be silly to be jealous of a flower... 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 "jaying", Christine is "christining", Laura is "lauring", etc. I can appreciate how they create. Their blogs come naturally from their backgrounds and experience. If I want my blog to be better I simply need to do more "brooksing". 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 tend to apreciate them more. And I think that I am learning 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 themself 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. 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 is so difficult to experience. It hurts!

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 elses which is totally untrue.

What I believe that I can do is work. I can work to create a life situation that is true to 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! Because I've dug deeply into myself...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Elize said...

wow, fantastic blog!
I think you're incredibly brave, for delving into yourself, for writing publicly about what you find, for writing a letter to the yogi who wanted to take your job! An act that took considerable strength of character. I respect you so much for these writings- thank you for being your inspiring self.

Grace said...

Excellent post. There is lots of true here. This is something most humans have to deal with, and I am no exception! The first step is awareness, and then from awareness you can find the seed. I like how you say that you are never lacking because you have yourself.

YogaforCynics said...

I for one think you Brooks very well.

It's funny how, horrified as I am by "competitive yoga," I continue to compare myself to other people in the room, building up my own ego at the expense of that poor guy unable to hold side-plank on the next mat. But, then, as always, I'm a work in progress...

How horrifying that a fellow yoga teacher would try to undercut you like that...then, even within my own small sphere, in the past couple of years, twice I've suddenly gotten an e-mail telling me about the opening of a new yoga studio, and then, soon after, gotten one from a studio where I practice, saying that a disgruntled former employee stole their e-mail list for her new studio.

Bob Weisenberg said...

Can Yogis be jealous?

A fellow blogger asked me recently.

I replied:

Sure, yogis can be jealous.

But then we step outside ourselves

And view our jealousy with pure awareness

Without judgment

and without ego.

At that point

We become blissfully purely aware that

We also want to strangle the other person.


Bob Weisenberg said...

Great blog. Example in my life--through Yoga I've learned to enjoy and even applaud the great tennis shots of my opponents, while still competing with great intensity myself.

I could never do this before I took up Yoga. I had far too much ego involved.

Eco Yogini said...

this is so difficult- yet i find that the "knowing myself" is the part that strengthens with every year. I never used to understand adults or my parents when they said how they loved being in their ____ies, as they knew themselves so much better.
I used to think- "well, I KNOW who I am of course, how will that change?"

funny how with time I've realized that I really don't know myself at all.... and I look forward to growing with age. :)

Ilovemusic said...

Brooks, I LOVE this!! Thank you so much! A part of the human condition I guess... ego likes to rule.

Anonymous said...

I second YogaforCynics...You Brooks so well!

And especially in person!! ;)

When I met you at Kripalu, Brooks, I felt immediately comfortable with you, at ease. You are so very likeable. :)

And I can be ( me) rather shy and wary at first with new people.

Not with you.

I think that just says so much about how extraordinarily you "Brooks!"

Anonymous said...

It's a fine line between admiring the good works of others and desiring similar for ourselves. And I think you are right - we can't want what another has. Only what is best for ourselves.

No one is immune to wanting what others have, though. I think this is a condition of our world of duality. We always want 'other'. A different body, place to live, type of success, education, wealth etc. We want what we are not, because we operate under the delusion of seperateness.

If we can learn to be truly joyous for another, then we are also joyous for ourselves because that joy is not contained or solely for one being. :)

McKenna said...

How great you can admit that you have felt envy or jealousy (who hasn't)...we are only human! What's important is how we deal with the emotions that swell up in us. As Eckhart Tolle says, acknowledge them briefly and move on..."emotion" literally means a disturbance...a disturbance in the natural peace of just "being".

Namaste_Heather said...

Lovely and so true. Mudita. I'd never heard of it before, but what a wonderful lesson. I believe Mudita is a feeling/trait I'd like to cultivate more of through my yoga practice. I am always asking my students to set an intention for their practice. What is it they'd like to cultivate in their lives through their practice? This is it for me, now. Thank you for a wonderful, thought provoking post!