I have a confession to make.
I was attacked by the green-eyed monster in the most unsuitable arena: I got spiritual envy.
I have never been a jealous person when it comes to relationships. Heck, the first guy I seriously loved was a sports coach, for women in bikinis! It didn’t bother me at all. I just made friends with all the girls who would be on tour with him and never really thought about him straying.
Honest! I didn’t even really know about weird relationship jealousy until I was at a street party with some friends and after us girls went to the bathroom, one of the other girls wanted us to sneak up the street, hiding behind lamp posts and ducking behind crowds to see who her boyfriend was talking to while we had been gone.
I was dumbfounded—I had never seen anything like her behavior before!
But as a youngest child in a not very emotionally abundant family, I have always been jealous of the attention and praise that others receive. Especially in any area that is important to me. Previously, this has attacked me in my career, when colleagues got good assignments or recognition, or, god forbid, a promotion.
One of my secret goals is to be head-hunted—not because I care about the career, but because it would feel good to be singled out, to be wanted, specifically…me.
Now I am ‘spiritual’ and free of such trappings as career envy and freeing myself of such low-vibrational states as jealousy all together, right?
Nope. Envy attacked me in the most inappropriate of places—in meditation! I have always accepted that I am not the most disciplined of meditators (that’s the understatement of the decade) and am coming to terms with my lack of intuition, sight, gift or any other tangible spiritual skill (I can’t even ‘meet’ my guides). But I have been pretty good at pretending to be cool with that so far.
I am currently privileged to be meditating with some amazing Energy Masters. I was doing okay just tagging along—having mastered my childish need to be noticed, to be front and centre—until comments were continuously made about how special my friends are (and yes, they are wonderful, incredible souls!).
Then out jumped my inner green-eyed monster, right into the middle of my lovely scenic spiritual path!
I have some friends who are spiritually pretty advanced, and I don’t usually mind so much when they get noticed by teachers and masters, but when someone else in my meditation group got singled out for having a “shining soul,” my inner green troll went on a serious rampage, throwing a rather large tantrum all over my zen!
Hmm, perhaps that is why my soul is not so shiny?
Whack goes the envy stick and I really struggled with others being praised for having noteworthy souls! Yep, I know that sounds strange, but I have become a Soul Stage Mother! I want my soul to stand out, to get praised, to be seen as special.
Come on, can’t you see how shiny my soul is? Please, look at my soul!
Of course, that’s not how things work… I know this is completely perfect and exactly what I needed to be experiencing and it was such a conflict! I not only struggled with my jealousy, but also with the wrongness of being jealous over such a thing.
Got me thinking about envy however. There are lots of article here and elsewhere implying (if not outright stating) that yoga envy is rampant and I just read one this morning about “skinny white girl privilege” where the author suggested she had some very negative feedback to her owning her skinny self.
We aim to be flexible or skinny or whatever, but we hate it when others are already there.
What is it about someone else’s success that makes us want to lash out? Whether it is the super flexible girl next to you in yoga class doing the splits, the shiny soul being praised by your teacher or our delight in tearing down celebrities, there seems to be an inherent tendency to both admire and resent other people having what we want.
How do we turn nasty envy into functional motivation?
How do we leave the ick factor out of seeing other people with the things we want?
I am not offering any solutions. I would need to spend way more time in meditation to get a grip on offering advice to others about my own foibles. But, as always, my mantra is take responsibility for your thoughts and emotions and awareness is a great start, so here I am, being aware of my inner green eyed meditator.
If you would like to sit on the mat next to me, I would love the company. I promise to barely even notice if you sit in lotus better than I do.
(As an aside, down the track, the “shiny soul” turned out to be a not-so-shiny human, but I swear I did not gloat about that! I really didn’t as one of my friends got very hurt in the process and my inner Mama Bear kicks my Inner Stage Mother’s butt.)
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Tui Anderson
Editor: Renée Picard