How often have you thought about the life circumstances of someone else and felt: jealous, envious, annoyed, frustrated ? Or on the other hand: less sad, grateful, even relieved ?
Of course the truth is–we all have.
When we perceive that someone has MORE of what we would like for ourselves: money, fame, success, beauty, material possessions, great family, friends, children….we ‘covet’ [to use the Biblical phrase] their lives.
When we hear of someone who is LESS fortunate that ourselves: poor, sick, problems with careers, family, jobs, money…..we feel better about our situation.
I believe BOTH situations are undesirable for us.
We should acknowledge the uniqueness of each life, each situation. We should strive to feel joy for others successes and sadness for other’s suffering. That should not, however, be affected by our OWN circumstances.
We cannot, nor should we fantasize about ‘trading places’ with any other human being on the planet. There are undefinable, subtle, karmic factors that have placed us where we are now.
We need to accept that situation–however pleasant or unpleasant, however joyful or painful and move forward in the next moment in the direction in which we choose.
We may be faced with situations in which we seem unable to move forward at all–overwhelming, unimaginable painful or tragic. The power we Do retain is in our capacity to accept the present situation–to learn something from it and to exert our best efforts to deal with it in the best way we can.
For some–it is acceptance of what cannot be changed. For others it is doing everything possible to change what they can. The serenity prayer says it all.
We often cannot control the outside world. We can control our mind’s perception of the situation.
We should empathize with all beings: share their joys, and sorrows. But stop comparing ourselves with anyone else. It is the first step towards liberation and happiness.