I have an unhealthy addiction to envy. This realization knocked me off my seat when I began digging deeper into the causes of my suffering. I was astounded to realize how much I overlook this deadly sin when in fact it permeates many of my motivations. Close to its cousin jealousy which, for me, is a bit more flash-driven with a shorter shelf life albeit nasty and conveniently linked to my other bedfellow rage, envy is a deep-rooted belief in lack, scarcity, low self-worth, not belonging, inability, absence of confidence, fear…just to name a few. As I began reading “Ayurveda: A comprehensive guide to traditional Indian medicine for the West” by Frank John Ninivaggi, M.D. (run, don’t walk), I learned about “Envy Theory” and its manifestation in a person’s formative years. And wow: did I realize the brevity of this manifestation in my life. How many of us are taught by well-meaning adults to fear just about everything: from forming our own opinions and God-forbid acting on them, to simply absorbing the fear theories and behaviors surrounding us (children are brilliant though they are absolute sponges). If we were wild children, we might have a higher mortality rate because it is HARD, people, to hunt and kill and eat the right berries, but our instincts would be intact and while our lives might not last as long, the living would be easier on an emotional level.* Instead, low-grade long-term fear permeates our lives and neurosis is given its Petri dish. With envy behind the wheel, “seeing,” which is so important on the spiritual path and difficult enough without envy, remains clouded and the breathing is hard. I’m envious of everyone: even Buddha.
So how do we reclaim our birthright of abundance? I believe everyone’s approach might be different with its own timeline. I believe there are many ways to begin and more importantly, many opportunities to begin.
More than how, I believe the defining word is “when.”