Jealousy. What is jealousy for you?
Frustration, this I can identify with jealousy. Jealousy, envy, this is one of the poisons, and you know why? Because we judge without knowing, right. So, for example, in our society, we think that accumulating material wealth is going to bring us happiness. So then when we see billionaires, we see their lifestyle, we become jealous and, that’s the purpose when you show off the sports car, the house, the lifestyle, the whole purpose is to make jealous to people. It’s like the culture, to boost my ego, I’m going to show off what I have, and that’s supposedly going to make me happy. But the truth is it makes you miserable because it’s completely empty. There is no meaning to it. But, of course, because of our ignorance, we judge, and we think that the other person is happy. We think that that is what we want and that is what we need to be happy. Because in the capitalistic society, we have been educated that way to compare, compare and think, “Why don’t I have that? I should have that. They are happy. I’m not. I want to be happy,” and then the jealousy comes. And then you poison yourself, you make yourself miserable. But the truth is that the other person is much more miserable than you because material wealth is never going to make someone happy. It’s only dissatisfaction all the time – the more you have, the more you want; the more you have, the more worry, the more problems, the more distrust. You distrust people because you don’t know what their intention is. When you have a lot of material wealth, it’s difficult to. You don’t know what their intention is, everybody wants a piece of your wealth. So, with the jealousy, we only focus on this very small perspective. We don’t realize all the other aspects of suffering that the other person can have. So, the moment you switch jealousy into compassion, then you transform this poison and then it becomes something positive.
And yes, possession, possessiveness, frustration, the wish to have. OK, so frustration, we get frustrated through jealousy, like I described before, because we judge without understanding. That’s how we get frustrated, you know, like me, I don’t have enough, I don’t have the right situation, I should have more, I deserve more, why I don’t have this, why, why, blah blah blah… In the end, you become miserable and you can’t appreciate the gift of life, so precious moment to moment. The moment we can appreciate what we have here and now, you have compassion, and the intention to help, then that’s the real happiness, that’s the true happiness, you don’t need anything else really. The body needs food, of course, and good company and warmth at night and shelter and blah blah, it becomes more and more complicated, but the basic is to have a happy mind, and everything else will follow because the body follows the mind. If you have a happy mind, then your body will be happy also because your mind influences the body. If you are depressed, your body becomes depressed, all your cells become depressed.
So it’s good to dance sometimes, it’s good to listen to music sometimes, it’s good to eat good food, healthy food, to exercise, have positive thoughts, the intention to help, and all this will bring you what we call ‘happiness’. But there is not really such a thing as happiness, it’s just a concept. If it was real, which it is, but it’s another level, it would be a state of mind, a constant state of mind. Some people call it liberation from samsara or nirvana. So, the moment you have these small details, then you create the cause not to be unhappy. And that, for now, it’s more than enough. If you are not unhappy, you are doing good. Because the happiness we’re looking for is very temporary. We can be grasping, grasping, grasping something that you can never catch. So, it doesn’t really make sense, “I want to be happy, I want to be happy”, but you don’t even know what that is. You have a concept, but once we say, “oh maybe, when I get this car or when I have this beautiful girlfriend, when I have a nice house and a family and this and that, or when I have a good job that pays well”, all these concepts; “when I have a realization or the opportunity to meditate, to practice Dharma, then I’ll be happy”, this concept, but when it happens, then the concept changes and we have another concept.
I have a friend who was studying in the Master’s Program in Lama Tsongkhapa and I asked her, “Do you do meditation?” She said, “No, now, I’m studying, when I have a cave, I will meditate.” It’s a little bit like that, no? We create this concept-when I have the cave, the perfect conditions, then I’ll practice, but the perfect conditions, they’re always now and here and nowhere else. A concept is a concept. It’s like a thought it comes and goes. Like the clouds, you go to grab them, you can’t touch, you can’t grab. It looks real, but it’s empty. So that’s why we get frustrated based on our ignorance, based on the comparison, based on the ego that doesn’t exist, and the possessions, all these bring suffering, so we must be able to switch that. Observe your mind, observe how the mind works, the mechanism, the conditioning, the pattern. Even if you can’t think about the past lives, at least think about in this life. So, it’s not easy from one moment to another to change, but when it happens, if we are aware, then it creates the condition to slowly change, we create the conditions for the change to occur. We cannot change ourselves, but we can create the conditions for that change to occur.
I forgot to mention something at the beginning. All I wanted to say was that there is nothing for me to teach; all I can do is to remind people what we already know. So, I just wanted to clarify that part: I’m not a teacher, I’m just a friend who helps to remind you. I need a lot of reminding too, so we help each other. And like they say the real friend is the one who criticizes you in front of you, constructive criticism. Behind your back, they talk very good about you. That’s a real friend.
So, we were finishing jealousy, but I remembered there is one very important aspect about jealousy – the boyfriend-girlfriend, girlfriend-boyfriend jealousy aspect, the grasping one, the anger jealousy. So, it happens all the time, right? First you love somebody, and obviously it’s not really love, it’s attachment. Why am I saying it’s not real love? There are two reasons: one, it brings suffering afterwards; and number two, you can hate as much as you can love. So, you say, “Oh I love you, I love you”, and the next day, “I hate you, I hate you.” That’s why that type of love is not the real love, it’s temporary attachment. The real thing is that we get attached to the feeling that the other person makes us feel. We are not attached to the person. We are attached to the feeling he gives us, or better said, the feeling that arises within us based on the presence of the other person, on our projection. Sometimes we either idealize, and when we idealize, then after it’s like slapping ourselves. So that’s why, you know, we must be able to differentiate this one. Jealousy comes from not the real love one, from the love, but the wrong concept of love because if it’s real, unconditional love, if the other person is happy, you would be happy, right? And if the other goes with somebody else, “Oh I rejoice! I’m so happy, you’re happier with them, great!”
I think there are very few people who can react like that. I have a friend who is like that – a couple, they have been together now maybe twelve years or more, thirteen. While they were together, the girl has had four relationships, one three months, another four months, another eight months, like that. So, within the relationship, she had other relationships. He’s super happy all the time – il s’en fout- he doesn’t care. That for me was wow! How is that possible? But he said, “Oh no, it’s OK, doesn’t matter. If she is happy, I’m happy, it’s fine.” I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, it’s very, very risky, very, very risky. It can create a lot of problems, a lot of conflict, and jealousy can come up very easily, but in this case, which is very rare, I’ve seen it. And as a matter of fact, they have a kid now, a daughter, very close friends of mine, and now they’re together very, very happy. That guy is my hero, very close, I always ask him, “How do you do it?” He says, “I don’t know. It’s the way I am.” He doesn’t care, just unattached. He focuses on the happiness of the other person. It’s not possessiveness, it’s not “I want to be happy.” It’s the desire of the happiness for the other that you can love. My own happiness, I want to possess because of my happiness, that’s not the real love. And when you say, “Oh I love you, I love you,” everyday, ten to fifteen times a day, but then in one second, something happens and the anger comes out and then you say, “Oh, sorry, sorry and you know I love you! I love you!” and the next day, “I hate you!” But it’s true that hate and love are quite linked together. According to what I understand, the opposite of love is indifference, not hate, but that’s another story. So that was a part of the jealousy topic. I think it’s the important part to cover, just to be clear, to be aware of that.