Your answer to this question points to the need for this week’s heart energy practice – Sympathetic Joy. This is joy in another’s good fortune or happiness. It certainly it’s easy to do but it is, by far, one of the best heart practices to work with. If you want to know the freedom of a joyous heart and the sting of a closed heart – simply find someone experiencing good fortune and try to connect with their joy.
Our thinking mind, or ego, acts as if our own joy is the only real joy and if we are not experiencing it from our own life circumstances no one else should be either. But if by chance we do experience another’s joy (from say a family member or good friend) we experience that joy as genuine in us. We feel the laughter and the pleasant uplift. We shine as if the moment belongs to us. Imagine the level of joy that would be in our lives if we could feel the joy of ordinary people; even people we don’t know or don’t like.
Better still, imagine the level of joy we miss in life because we are following the limitations of the thinking mind. We are interconnected beings; not isolated individuals based on the view of the thinking mind. This conditioned view arises out of our instinctual impulse to protect ourselves from harm. This need to protect is important for our survival but when we are not mindful, we allow this habitual impulse to close us off from joy. If we could truly experience the level of joy that is possible because of our interconnectedness we would never shut down again.
Sympathetic Joy is Metta when faced with another’s joy. It is what gives us the capacity to soften with friendliness and kindness around that joy and experience is for ourselves. In my own experience, I have found that the harder it is for me to practice with this, the greater to joy when I see my constricted mind and let go. What about you?
See you Thursday…Tuere