Over the last couple of days, a very english yogi has been working on a practice which is simple but very, very challenging.
He is happy when others are happy, and sad when others are sad.
Sounds very easy?
In principle it is obvious. At first glance it is easy. Your husband, or wife, or child or parent – or even your friend or work colleague tells you that they have received some good news and they are overjoyed. It could be anything – a job, some money, a clear medical test, a successful exam result etc. They’re your friend/husband/wife/child etc. So it’s almost by default that you are going to be happy for them. And the opposite is true. If they have some sad news or are upset. It’s again, almost by default that you are going to be upset or sad with them.
Now: try it with people you don’t know, or perhaps you don’t care about, or aren’t close to.
Take it a step further: try it with people who cause you difficulty, who’s actions seem geared to make you angry or upset. Try it with anyone who you think is your competitor or rival. Try it with the boss. Try it with the cleaner.
The ‘yogi found an interesting thing. The competitive world seems to encourage us to thrill in others misfortune and get annoyed with other peoples’ success and happiness. Seems like the whole of news on TV, in the press and on the radio (and the web..) is geared around to thrill in others’ misfortune and get jealous of others’ success and happiness. Gossip in the office, in the pub, or on the street hinges on the intrigue of others misfortunes and struggles and to query and question others’ success and happiness. It seems to the ‘yogi that this route is a crazy making route: a downward spiral.
To shift the spiral upwards why not try being happy when others are happy; and sad when they are sad.Everyone.