To be jealous of another is to want what they have in material terms. Whether it is looks, money, a position of power or more possessions, each of us have experienced the pangs of envy and dissatisfaction that arise within when we see someone who has something that we desire for ourselves. Wanting that which they have, we might curse them out aloud or secretly under our breath, and hope that some challenging times come to befall them, so that they are brought back to a position that sits more comfortably with us.
In feeling this way, our ego don’t want anyone to be ahead of or above us because on the terms by which it measures it worth, that would make them better than we are and more successful in the eyes of others. This motivates the ego to move out into the world and hang its hat on something that testifies to its specialness. Needing to be held in the highest esteem, the ego craves that which is valued highly by others in the physical world because what it desires above all else is the acceptance of those others. But what it seeks is not true acceptance that is unconditional in spirit, but rather a conditional acceptance that depends on having more than others, being more powerful than others, and being more well liked than others.
You would have encountered particular individuals who are always in competition with others around them when it comes to earnings, cars, houses, clothes, labels, positions and other status symbols. Not wanting to be outdone in the validation that they derive from these superficial pursuits, these people often go to great lengths to show that they are more important than you because their very sense of identity depends so much on it. Being effectively addicted to that recognition and approval, they receive an artificial boost to their self-esteem and pride when the unconscious eyes of the world annoint them as an ideal to strive for.
Feeling superior because of the envy that they arouse within others, the compromise that they are making is the diminution of the life force in their daily movements. Being always concerned with the next acquisition, the next conquest, what others have, and the state of their reputation, what escapes them is the conscious awareness that what matters most of all is the condition of the spiritual heart that is unattached to the source of envy, or the objects that it pursues.
As the very source of material abundance, the spirit is in no need of what others have, and with the contentment that we feel in its presence, we can embody the wisdom of eschewing artificial comparisons which detract from the honouring of our own authentic path. Being preoccupied with the appearance of duality that has us turn against others in envy, guarantees that we will not experience the peace that comes when we can take others as they are and not have to rely upon them for validation of our ego identity.
In the confines of ego, what doesn’t ultimately matter appears to be the be all and end all of our existence, and when our awareness becomes stuck on only that which it allows us to see, what goes unappreciated are the multitude of gifts which are already possess that we should be grateful for. Nobody really knows what is going on in the lives of those who we envy, and in our unconsciousness we naively assume that the grass is greener on the other side of the Joneses fence.
But what if we were to shift this point of perception and identify with the truth that the means of living our best life reside squarely on the side of the fence in which we now live. Such a shift would surely take the blustering wind out of the ego’s sails and put us back on the path to a life of significance and meaning, where the cultivation of our inner garden, and giving to the world of its blossoming fruits, becomes the priority. Here, I will share the story that prompted this realisation within myself and set me on the journey to envy-free living.