Scary???!! Right!! Are you sure you want to delve into this subject matter? I hope so! As humans, it is the scariest emotion that we have. As spiritual beings, it is clearly the hardest to face (keep reading, because I am going to tell a story after my comments about jealousy).
As a part of our journey on the spiritual path, each of us have had to (or will have to) become deeply aware of and educated about each of our emotions; sadness, fear, anger, loneliness, rage and jealousy. We have to experience these emotions in an exaggerated fashion for many reasons that actually benefit us. We have to experience them repetitively and from many different vantage points. The first reason is, in order to come to know ourselves in an extremely conscious way, we must experience who we are very clearly and concisely. My analogy about this is as follows: If you are at home and your electricity goes out, what would you do? You would probably call the electric company for help. However, the person from the electric company, in order to restore your power, must know how the electrical system works and must be trained on how to fix it. Without that knowledge, you are helpless. You know that you have electricity. You know that you need it. You know how to turn on and off the light switch. But, chances are you do not know how it works and how to fix a problem! The trained and educated person does know! So, you may not need to know how to fix electricity, but you do need to know how to help yourself. And knowing yourself thoroughly is one of the first steps!
A second reason is that we are stronger if we are making a choice to be loving or compassionate from an awareness of having clear access to our opposite choice. This could be anger, vengeance or even self-hatred. The alternative to awareness is to shut down and close off the feeling of anything unpleasant. Maybe to drink, do drugs, eat or otherwise find a way to suppress whatever does not feel good. So, if you choose to be loving in a moment where you would normally choose retaliation, then your choice to be loving has just become ten times stronger. My analogy for this is about weight-lifting. Muscles only grow when they have something heavy acting as extreme resistance against them. The heavier the resistance, the bigger the muscles! Get it?!
These are not the only reasons, but enough for now. Each emotion has a benefit for us. Each emotion helps bring us further along our path of spiritual growth in some way (you could also just call this ‘evolution’). Jealousy is the Queen of all of our negative emotions. It is clearly the most frightening and the one we fight to stay away from the most. It is the one that could, without question, without reason, without control, annihilate whatever may be in it’s path. Therefore, most of us try to stay far away from it! In fact, in our prison system, it has a name, “Crimes of Passion”.
My own story about finding out about jealousy took place over a period of time. It was definitely an emotion I felt a time or two in my life, but one I didn’t like. I did my best not to put myself in circumstances in which I would feel it. Or, I would create a thought process that would somehow negate it. Once I began my deep spiritual journey, ignoring jealousy was just not an option. I had many moments of jealousy for a year and a half. Even long-term bouts of it. Then it culminated when I was presented with a situation in which there was no alternative but to experience it in a most excruciating way on a daily basis.
I had a boyfriend. Let’s say his name was Bill. Bill and I had been together for almost a year and a half. To make a long story short, one evening a friend told me that Bill had started a relationship with someone else and had obviously forgotten to tell me. The ‘someone else’, wasn’t just ANY ‘someone else’. This person, which I will call Alice, was the one person left in my life that I simply could not stand. She was someone I had known for many years. I perceived her as mean, selfish, uncaring and anything else bad you could think of. Although these feelings were not loving, I was able to push them aside and create distance from her. I could easily justify the fact that I was so busy in my life that I hardly had time to spend with someone who was not nice to me. As long as I did not see her, it was easy to fool myself into thinking that I did love her, but just believed that she wasn’t very nice. However, powers greater than myself had other ideas in mind. Suddenly and quite agressively, Alice was center stage in my life.
The moment I became thoroughly convinced that Bill was actually having an affair with Alice, I broke up with him and it was then that my life of jealousy began! Yes, jealousy became my every waking moment! Every second of every day, I experienced mind-boggling jealousy. I believed that the resolution to my problem would be to simply go on with my life without ever seeing either one of them again. If I never saw them again, I figured that I just would never again experience jealousy. But, everywhere I went, there they were. A very small part of me had trouble justifying my feelings in the context of my spiritual path, but I tried like crazy. I begged and pleaded with God. ‘Please let me hate just one person. I will love every single other person in the world. I will love 8 billion people and hate ONLY ONE! Isn’t that a good deal???…God??…Gaaaawwwd??’ But God had gone very silent. I was left starkly alone, being tortured every day by my hatred, jealousy, rage and wrath!
I began seeing Alice everywhere I went! If I went to the store, she was there. If I was driving down the street, she was driving by me. If I was at the mall, there she was. Even if I tried to hide in my house, she was still finding her way to me. Unbelievably, she began to send me pages (we had pagers back then) saying she loved me. On my answering machine, her voice sounded very contrite. I pictured her grinning like a cheshire cat, enjoying every second of my writhing in pain, which made me angrier and crazier. Several times, by chance, we met in public places and tried to talk but ended up screaming at each other.
Then, two things happened. First, as I continued my futile bargaining with God, I began to see that if I insisted on hating even one person, I could not really be loving. Even one person would block my heart from being completely loving and loved. Second, my meetings with Alice became calmer and more real. Our conversations began to revolve around our pain and hurt instead of our anger. Miraculously one day, we saw each other as human beings instead of monsters and healed our relationship.
The process took about six months. However painful, it is an experience I wouldn’t change for the world. I would never have seen the depth of my hatred and jealousy. I would have continued living in an illusion that I was just a loving person. Instead, I was able to have an opportunity to choose love in the most challenging situation and experience what it means to be loving in a whole new way.
Are you jealous? Are you ready to face this? I love you and am here for you!