This short article investigates a psychospiritual challenge that many of us often face: Envy. Specifically, the kind of envy that arises when we hear of another person’s spiritual or awakening experience.
Has anyone else noticed a distinct increase in the number of spiritually significant experiences being shared by the people around you? Has anyone else begun to feel envious of others for having such experiences? Has anyone else felt a sense of guilt and being held back from their path because of this envy? Has anyone else wondered what we can do to transcend this envy? I know I have and I feel as though through this process I have come to an understanding about this transcendence of envy that I’d like to share with you.
There seems to be a notable change happening in what we are sharing with each other; a change in the stories we are telling and the caliber of experiences we are going through in our daily lives. I am almost constantly hearing stories from people about profound synchronicity, psychic abilities, spiritual discovery, contact with extraterrestrials and spirits, spontaneous healings, complex metaphysical realizations and so on. This stuff would be the furthest of the fringe fifteen years ago, unheard of 50 years ago and now I am eavesdropping on these kinds of conversations in the atmosphere of my local café—almost as common as I once overheard retellings of last night’s episode of LOST. With all of these stories going around about moments of distinct lucidity and mystical awareness, I have found myself in the midst of a challenging inner conflict.
Over the last little while, like many others, I have begun to live my life as if it were a journey of spiritual self-discovery, rather than a series of events and purchases like I had been taught. Throughout this process, I have noticed an awakening to experiences that extend out from beyond what I once thought possible and into a realm, I could best describe as mystic. As I continue to read, watch, learn and share with others in my community—whether online or in person—I am opened to believing in possibilities that push the boundaries of my perception.
Hearing the people I hold close to my heart tell stories of living experiences I had before only known in the words of eclectic spiritual teachers and esoteric philosophers, has potentiated a personal reality that far exceeds what I have thought possible since I was old enough to be told by my elders that my imagination wasn’t real, life is about struggle and I couldn’t be whatever I wanted when I grew up if I just believed in it. The process of opening the depth of what I believe possible in my reality has been filled with both blessings and great challenges and I want to address a specific challenge, which I feel as though many of us may be facing: Envy.
Inspired and excited, the more I learn about the potential of my own experience, the more I want to access that potential directly. So when I hear another person, for example, sharing their story of a “transcendent synchronicity sparking an expansion of their consciousness into a state of micro-epiphany” or describing the “activation of their 3rd eye and having visions of cascading geometric light”, I have found myself feeling envious. I’d think to myself, “wow that’s so awesome, I wish I could have an experience like that” or “this person’s experience is so much more profound than mine have been” or “how come my 3rd eye isn’t being activated? I’m working so hard on it”. This envy has plagued me from time to time throughout the last year or so and I have been trying honestly to deal with this internal process without feeling defeated every time it returned.
I could see how this was holding me back. It either prevented my full presence during another’s story—often being distracted by a sense of personal lack—and/or limited my own experience by implanting in me, subconsciously, the tendency to compare my experience to another’s, which of course would then always fall short. Ultimately, this envy was limiting my ability to have that which I desired from my own experience and limiting my full presence with another in the midst of their honest sharing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel as though I am not alone in this challenge and I want to share a perspective that has helped me to start transcending this envy.
It is the stories we share with each other that help to inspire us into deeper reaches of our own potential. When I list facts and teach lectures, I engage your intellect but when I tell you a story of personal experience that has within its depth a point of self-discovery and budding wisdom, I provide you an experience to relate with from your heart.
When you can relate to an experience in the moment of a story being told, you are living that story as if it were your own. It inspires visitation to a place within you that would have been otherwise unknown if it had not been accessed in relation to the story of another. We are the keys to each other’s doors of perception and our stories are how we pass those keys along. When I feel envy for not having had the direct experience of that which I am hearing about in your story, I cut off myself from receiving that key. I cut off myself from relating with your experience by placing within myself, a point of recognizing that I am not a part of your story—which is a false perception. However, if that sense of envy can be transcended then I can mirror from within that which you are sharing with me.
I’m sure we have all come in contact with the near cliché concept of we are all one. It is this concept—which I believe to be a fundamental truth—that exposes to us why it is that the recognition of “I am not part of your story” is a false perception. Given that we are all one—however you choose to define that to yourself—then this process of spiritual discovery is a shared process. To outline this simply, I am going to describe it from a first-person perspective.
When I hear your story and relate to it, I am participating in our spiritual experience. When we connect in the midst of your story, your experience becomes our experience, if I do not block this connection with envy from the ego.
Have you heard the concept of Maya, the great illusion that is reality? If you have, you know what I’m talking about. If not, just go with me on this. The concept of reality being an illusion is not necessarily a bad thing; it can be a wonderful illusion as we ebb and flow back and forth through the veil of separateness. The issue, as far as I can see, is that we often allow ourselves to be distracted by what is happening in the Maya; distracted by the surface of our experience and we start to forget that those are merely shadows dancing on the wall.
For example, auras: it does not matter whatsoever whether or not you can see auras, this is merely a surface experience. Yet many people feel a deep sense of personal lacking because they cannot see them and this sense of lacking weights them down. Seeing auras doesn’t matter, what matters is your unique connection to the divine within you and however, that manifests honestly in your life. It is that connection which guides us towards awakening, not seeing auras, “activating our 3rd eye” or contact with ET. In fact, for most people, these experiences are very challenging and distracting.
When we learn to cultivate a connection to the divine within us and see from our individualized consciousness how the divine is the underlying fabric that holds us all together in the midst of this beautiful dance of relativity, we learn to cultivate a relationship to the divine within each other. This relationship is what truly matters and so when we are hearing someone else’s story and become envious that the experience they are sharing wasn’t ours, we are allowing ourselves to become distracted away from that relationship. It is like allowing ourselves to be tossed by waves on the surface and forget that we are the ocean itself.
Whenever I feel this surge of envy rising in relation to your story, I check it with self-awareness and remind myself that we are all one and in this together. I remind myself that my relationship with the divine within is equally as beautiful as the story being told and is simply expressing itself differently. I open myself to feeling gratitude and excitement for your experience and welcome it into my heart, knowing that we are sharing this journey together; knowing that your experience is our experience; knowing that when I cultivate the perception of appreciation for the divine shining through you in the midst of relating to your story, I am connecting to the divine within me.
For that which I see in another is always a reflection of that which is within me, manifesting in the often-beautiful Maya.
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