Overcoming Jealousy

What good is jealousy? What does it teach us? 

Human emotions are incredible. Combined with external stimuli, emotions can tell us when we’re in danger or when some need has been fulfilled or when something needs to change. They are how we experience beauty beyond words and how we know when we’ve achieved something great. Emotions give us information about how we’re living. And for the most part, they are invaluable.

Fear tells us we’re in danger. Sorrow tells us we lost something worth grieving. Joy gives us a sense of profound connection. Anxiety tells us that the road might be dangerous but it also might be exactly the right path to be on. And the list goes on. But jealousy? What good is jealousy?

It’s a state of comparison and competition. It doesn’t lead us to joy or love. It doesn’t tell us we’re in danger. At most, it tells us we’re not content with the life we’re living but we’re also not willing to go out and get it. But that doesn't mean we can't break out of comparison and live differently

Before we get into how to overcome it, let’s explore a little bit about where jealousy comes from.

Where Does Jealousy REALLY Come From?

Excerpt from Just Love: A Journey Into the Heart of God

Nowadays, when you look at people, you’ll see that they are fully disturbed by everything around, trying to fulfil their desires. When we look at the material world, it’s a consuming reality, a mass production reality, a reality that is in constant need of fulfilling the needs of people. 

Due to the attachment to sense objects, if one fails to get something the mind desires, one goes into deep depression, one becomes aggressive, one becomes deluded. 

‘Why didn’t I get this? Why did my neighbour get that? Why not me?’This anger then becomes hatred. 

In this state, one creates jealousy, one creates a state of competitiveness: ‘That person is better than me, I have to do better. That person has more than me; I have to get more.’ And in this state of competitiveness, people become jealous of the progress of others. So judgment arises, and when they start to judge, compare, compete, they lose all sense of happiness; they lose all their intelligence; they lose all their strength, vitality; they lose their energy, they become exhausted, drained. So this is the pitiful state which one calls ‘enjoyment’...you enjoy short-term happiness, but long-term suffering!

 

jealosy cluster page

An Eye-Opening Story: The Greedy Neighbour

I remember a funny story that my mum used to tell me when I was small. There were two neighbours who were always quarrelling with each other. One day one of them thought, ‘I will pray to God, I will meditate on Him, and when I see Him, I will ask Him for a blessing.’ 

He meditated and prayed, and God appeared to him and said, ‘My dear fellow, what do you want?’ He answered, ‘God, I want a blessing from You. I want to have the blessing that whatever I ask from You, I will get it’. God said, ‘Okay, but I will give you this blessing with one condition: whatever you ask from Me, your neighbour will get double’. He thought for a while and said, ‘Okay, fine’. 

He asked God for one tonne of gold, and his neighbour got two tonnes of gold. He asked for a house, his neighbour got two houses. Then, a car for him, and his neighbour got two cars. Of course, he was jealous inside, and he was thinking, ‘I prayed so much, but how come my neighbour is profiting more?’ Do you know what he thought then? He said, ‘Okay God, I want a big and very deep hole in front of my house’. Well, God had to keep His promise, the neighbour got two holes in front of his house. The next thing he asked from God was: ‘God, I want you to take one of my eyes out’. You know what happened... 

This story sounds really funny, but this is how humans are. You can’t be happy for someone else. You can say, ‘Yes, I am happy for that person’, but when you look deep inside, there is something eating you. You probably don’t think about it, but at night when you go to bed, it eats you a little bit. You think, ‘How come that person is like that, and I am not like that?’

How to Be Happy for Others and Yourself

Comparison is the thief of happiness. And yet, like in the story above, we spend much of our time comparing ourselves with others. While it may be a natural state of the mind, it isn’t a necessary state of mind. 

Happiness is homemade. It's something we get to choose every day. The key to creating your own starts with changing your state of your mind and shifting perspective. It requires you to shift your attention from all that makes you jealous and towards something else. In fact, overcoming jealousy or being less jealous is a great goal for self-analysis.

Japa, a practice of gratitude and appreciation for the life you’ve been given, and redirecting unwanted thoughts are also powerful tools for shifting away from comparison and into the positivity you long for.

The stories and teachings shared in this post and many more are available now with Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s newest book, Just Love: A Journey into the Heart of God. Get your copy today!

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