Are you envious of other people’s relationship with God?
Do you find yourself worshiping a spiritual figure?
Does your desire to LOOK spiritual get in the way of actually BEING spiritual?
Mudita or goodwill is one of four Parikarmas in Yoga, or ways to purify the mind. Mudita is primarily focused on the pious. Those people who are so spiritually progressed that such intense feelings of envy arise within you.
We are talking about the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, Buddha’s of the world. Please feel free to insert whoever you really admire or follow into this discussion.
Let’s look at goodwill first in our interactions with the pious (externally) and then turn inwards and examine how we can show goodwill to ourselves.
Goodwill: friendly, charity, helpful, benevolent, cooperative, goodness
Why do we feel envy towards the spiritually progressed? Because we want to be where they are. We want to be respected and remembered forever.
But not only that, we want the peace and direct connection to God that we assume that they have.
But in order to move past this envy, we have to allow our respect and admiration for those ahead of us to encourage and draw us into RELATIONSHIP with the Divine.
A private and oftentimes messy relationship with a power higher than yourself.
I can guarantee that all the people you admire did hard self exploration and healing to get where they’re at. Let that knowledge inspire you.
It is POSSIBLE!
The Dalai Lama, Pope, and the Buddha are all WORTHY of our respect and awe. They have devoted their lives to helping others. They have done the internal work. They have paved the way for us through their teaching and self exploration.
BUT they are not Gods. Even the Buddha himself said he was not a God:
However many believe that by idolizing these PEOPLE, that somehow by association they are then closer to God. But that’s not how that works. Let’s resist the temptation to rely on a person or idol to bring us closer to god.
It’s not necessary. Or a requirement.
There is no wall separating us from the Divine. We do not need an intermediary person to help bridge a “divide” between us and god.
Your pastor or priest is no more spiritual than you are.
And by the way instead of reaching our hand UP to god like the Michelangelo painting, why don’t we bring that hand back down and reach towards ourselves. Because that’s where the Divine really lives.
Great spiritual leaders can trigger thoughts such as “how the hell am I ever going to reach enlightenment or “No one had a vision that I’d become the 15th Dalai Lama” or “I certainly don’t meditate 12 hours a day, I guess I’ll never get there.”
So we lose hope. Or wonder what’s the point of trying.
But do you hear what’s at the core of this longing? It’s pure ego. We’re not devastated that our relationship with GOD isn’t growing. We’re devastated that we’re not going to be a world recognized Guru that history will remember!
And I so get that! I think this feeling is overly prevalent in the Yoga world.
Yoga teachers are viewed as somehow more “spiritual” and put on a unfounded pedestal. So they begin to FEEL more spiritual than they really might be.
And that feeling left unchecked, or without an actual growing spiritual foundation kills humbleness.
So how do we as yoga teachers, or spiritual seekers in general RESIST this strong draw? Mudita! Goodwill towards ourselves. We don’t shame ourselves for getting caught up in ego. It happens. To everyone. So a little goodwill is in order to guide us back to the humble path.
Let’s untangle ourselves from the ego’s tentacles and DO THE WORK.
We get on our knees EVERYDAY and connect. Whether that’s through meditation, or prayer, or whatever your “thing” is!
We are the salvation we’ve been searching for.