Envy of others

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LifeintheNow
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Envy of others

Post by LifeintheNow » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:35 am

Have you ever envied another person’s life situation? We probably all have. I happened to be in a training recently where most participants were in their mid-life. Each of us was asked to introduce ourselves using a “lifewheel” drawing. While I listened with fascination, I noticed signs of discomfort and one person described her drawing as “pathetic”. Here’s what I think was happening on the inside for many:

- Comparing yourself to others
- Envious feelings when others introduced life situations (happy family, career, nice house, etc.) they would like to have, but haven’t achieved
- Not knowing why this or that unrealized life situation causes envy (perhaps an attachment to an image learned earlier in life)
- A habit to solely look for fulfillment in the outer life situation

With one foot in good old ego consciousness and the other foot in awareness, I was witnessing this going inside myself as well. However, witnessing my thoughts created a space to it all. The joy of sinking into the moment flushed away the envy.

I’d love to hear experiences from others about envy. How do you try to bring the Power of Now to these kinds of daily situations?

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Re: Envy of others

Post by Sighclone » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:14 am

Envy is a powerful and subtle emotion, particularly so because it attacks the ego. It is like an autoimmune disease. I'm quite certain ET had some envy before his shift. In my opinion, the boundary between admiration and envy is either very small (big ego) or infinitely distant (fully self-realized), and is, in its own way, a measure of spiritual progress.

And it need not be envy of house size, either. It can be envy of awareness...envy of spiritual growth.

Adya said somewhere something to the effect that you should want enlightenment so much that it does not matter to you if anyone ever knows you're there.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Envy of others

Post by LifeintheNow » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:31 pm

Thanks Andy for shedding more light on the feeling of envy especially some of the more tricky aspects related to spiritual growth. There’s a risk that we identify with the spiritual practice itself and seek fulfillment in the nice new identity of our spiritual persona. The “new me”. We've basically taken one step forward and one step back.

What would be signs that this identification with spiritual practice has happened? I’ve experienced the following:
- I react with a feeling of resistance and frustration when it’s difficult to quite my mind and to be fully present
- Well, envy of others that seem to be more spiritually developed. I tell myself a story that I’m less spiritual than others
- I judge others behaviors as ego oriented. It might be true that the behavior is ego-based; however, my judgement indicates that my spiritual ego is active.

Tolle's concept that we are the space and the awareness for our thoughts and feelings is helpful here. We can grow our ability to see our feelings and thoughts as they are. I'm finding it helpful to imagine my awareness as a lake where thoughts and feelings are "swimming" around. Throughout the day I take a moment to look inside to see what's in the pond at this moment. If envy is there, I try to bring awareness and acceptance to it.

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Re: Envy of others

Post by James » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:47 pm

It's an important issue Thomas, it's good you are seeing this. Be sure it is not a personal problem. Envy and its flip side superiority are hallmarks of the egoic mind. It's basically comparative thinking which is useful for many things such as building a house, developing software or buying bananas. But as a human being it is often impossible to be free of that prison of the intellect. As the expression goes if you only know how to use a hammer than everything looks like a nail.

As far as a solution, I think you are looking in the right direction, noticing and allowing these thoughts to arise and living now are two of the fundamental portals that puts the ego in the passenger seat. Although it may only seem to be temporary relief from the ego at first. I like inquiry too, Byron Katie's type is gentle and specific to each situation, but I prefer a more direct approach such as the inquiry that Ramana advocated, and is used by many contemporary Advaita teachers, including Adyashanti; (Adya usually refers to his teaching as Zen, but admits that it is more of conglomerate of different traditions including Advaita.)

I have found that as long as I take myself to be a limited, personal, separate entity, comparative thinking will happen, it is unavoidable, and the only way to dissolve it is to go to the root belief, the i thought or i feeling as Ramana calls it.

And yes a new form of spiritual comparisons is quite common since the ego is a shape shifter. So you see it in the form of thinking "my realization is deeper than yours" or "I am holier than thou", "My teaching or guru is better than yours". It's the same old consciousness with a new trick.
Adya said somewhere something to the effect that you should want enlightenment so much that it does not matter to you if anyone ever knows you're there.

That's a good one Andy. Adya also says something like: if enlightenment meant working at Walmart as a greeter the rest of your life, would you still want it? And not to get hung up on a concept of enlightenment either, as another form of egoic comparison, it really just means knowing/realizing the truth of one's being, which is the same truth of all beings. Since we are all like branches on the one tree of life. Could you imagine one branch of a tree being envious of another branch? It seems silly in that context. There are no comparisons in oneness, just different facets or expressions.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: Envy of others

Post by Sighclone » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:28 pm

When I was in San Rafael at the Science and Nonduality Conference, sitting with Gary Weber at that remarkable first annual event, with all kinds of interesting delegates around and evidence of a lot of deflated egos and a few robust ones, too, I told him about the one thing I was taking away from the conference. And that was "after awakening, all motivation for action comes from love." He got all introspective and said (I paraphrase)..."I really don't feel love for any person." I nodded and smiled and reponded: "That, Gary, is because you are so careful to assert the death of the "little self." How can you love another if both entities are false, etc... But that is not my point. I am saying that the reason Ramana came out of the cave, and the reason Jac O'Keeffe, and Adya and Scott Kiloby and you write your books is simply as an expression of unconditional love which is a natural, holistic, integral and pure expression of Self.

I hear and feel that also in the radiant posts of our long-time members like James, and onceler, and the other mods, and e1lycat and thekeymaster and RCharles and HermitLoon and Ananda and enigma and eputkonen and many others. Of course, each has his or her own style, context and experience, but the motivation ain't glory. It's love. Thanks, James, again...and thanks to everyone here who tries to say something helpful.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Envy of others

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:43 pm

Great insight and nicely put Andy. :D

WW

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Re: Envy of others

Post by kiki » Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:26 pm

Yes, well done Andy.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Envy of others

Post by eckhart01 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:52 am

If you observe your thoughts, when you are not present envy plays a critical role in the daily running of your life. It's inherent in 90% of thoughts. It's a core part of the ego, and when you are not present most of the time like me, it's negativity is overwhelming.

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Re: Envy of others

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:51 pm

eckhart01 wrote:If you observe your thoughts, when you are not present envy plays a critical role in the daily running of your life. It's inherent in 90% of thoughts. It's a core part of the ego, and when you are not present most of the time like me, it's negativity is overwhelming.
Yes, this may be the case at present, but you can't fight the negativity and expect it to go away. It only creates more of the same. What you can do is see the truth of your own nature. In doing so, negativity vents and is not recycled.

All experience is legitimate - although not necessarily pleasant. Observing as presence - as clear thought-free awareness - allows the inherent nature of wisdom to recognize what's happening. Inherent in wisdom is a natural love and forgiveness for whatever negativity and judgment that may come forth. It's okay to have negative thoughts and emotions. They are our teachers. Clear awareness is the classroom where wisdom meets experience. Learn to trust your own true nature.

As stated elsewhere, take frequent moments to rest in clear presence - day after day, week after week, until it becomes automatic to perceive experience in natural clarity. With just a little practice, confidence in your natural state will grow and be consistently available for difficult experiences, thoughts and emotions. Look for yourself. Experiment. Set a course of action (in resting in awareness) that will give you an honest read on its effectiveness. Direct experience is the only way to know.

WW

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Re: Envy of others

Post by eckhart01 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:03 pm

Webwandered, thank you for that.

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Re: Envy of others

Post by Sighclone » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:27 am

WW -
Clear awareness is the classroom where wisdom meets experience.
Now that's a nice metaphor!

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Envy of others

Post by Ananda » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:46 pm

Of course envy is a response to an inbuilt self-image of lack and deficiency. The most primary sense of lack comes from the individual sense. As soon as there is the individual sense then there are many individuals. Since each body/mind is completely different to one and other, and circumstances in life grant one fortune and the other not, then one appears less deficient than another, and so there envy comes in to play. Envy is a very interesting emotion, but is also a very good indicator to show when the individual sense has come in to play- because envy does not exist when there is no longer an individual sense.

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Re: Envy of others

Post by Sighclone » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:01 pm

Envy as an indicator....if one is Self-realized, then one recognizes the "achievements of another" as the achievements of "one's-Self." Nonduality means we are all One, not separate. Rowing a boat across the Atlantic? "We all" just did that.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Envy of others

Post by thenow » Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:19 pm

Another reason of envying others is the illusion toward possession. He has what I want. I want it too.

But in fact, we can't have anything. Possession is an illusion. No one can own anything. We come to the earth empty handed, and we leave the same way.

If we try to own something, the desire and the attachment to aquire and maintain is the cause of suffering.

Ego sustains itself through possession.

Anything after awakening become automatic. Things come, we do them, and then let go and move on.

It's the interpretation and thinking that play stories for us.

If no one can own anything, what's there to envy?

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