Rejoice in Others' Good Fortune and Excellent Qualities

"Rejoicing is an attitude that appreciates and enjoys others' happiness, talents, wealth, knowledge, skills, and virtue. Whereas envy cannot endure others' good fortune and excellent qualities, rejoicing appreciates these, thus filling our mind with joy. Of course, when we are in the throes of jealousy, we must make some effort to broaden our mind and rejoice, and if we do, many benefits accrue.

"For example, one student told me of seeing his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend in the supermarket. At first, Phil was tempted to ignore him and leave, but remembering his fledging rejoicing meditation at a recent retreat, he decided to approach him instead. Before doing so, Phil reflected that he and Jill had broken up because, as much as they cared about each other, they could not resolve certain differences in lifestyle and beliefs. He then inwardly rejoiced that Jill and Dave were happy and wished them well, whether their relationship lasted a long time or not. This helped him to introduce himself to Dave, and the two men chatted about sports for some time. While doing so, in his mind Phil continued to rejoice not only in Dave's and Jill's happiness, but also in the happiness of all harmonious couples. After leaving the market, Phil sat in his car and relished the good feeling in his heart. He was astounded by his ability to let go of antipathy and transform the situation.

"The great sages say that rejoicing in others' virtue is the lazy person's way to create positive potential and to have a happy mind. Why? Because without having to do the wonderful deeds ourselves, we simply allow ourselves to be happy when others do them. Of course, this is no excuse for not putting forth energy ourselves. We should contribute to the well-being of the world, and by making us admire what is constructive, rejoicing increases our tendency to do that.

"People's attention so often goes to what is wrong that they fall into despair. Bombarded by the news, which primarily reports conflicts and catastrophes, they forget the continual kindness that people show each other. The rejoicing meditation is an antidote to this. It is easy to do and can be done anywhere. For example, while standing in line at the bank, we can rejoice in the weath—no matter how great—that others have, and at the same time pray that wealth increase and be more equally distributed. While waiting at the dentist's office, we can rejoice in the kindness of all dentists and in the help people receive from them, while also praying that everyone with dental problems has access to the help he needs. Upon hearing someone receiving an award for excellence, we can be pleased with their talent and others' recognition of it. When our colleagues leave on vacation, we can rejoice that they will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves. Similarly, we can applaud those who are more disciplined then we in their daily meditation practice. We can be happy at others' generosity, whether or not we are the recipient of it, and we can appreciate others' patience, tolerance, and open-mindedness in situations that we would find difficult. When someone solves a problem that we cannot, we can celebrate her knowledge and skill, and when we see others' happiness, we can be delighted.

"When attentive, we will find more situations each day in which we can practice rejoicing. By each day making a mental note of our pleasure in others' good fortune, well-being, virtue, and excellent qualities, we will become joyful. In addition, this positive mental attitude will transform our speech and actions, so that we praise others and celebrate them. This, in turn, will transform our relationships with those with whom we are in daily contact. In addition, our mindstream will be enriched by a wealthy of positive potential, which will enhance our spiritual practice and facilitate our realizing the steps of the path. All in all, only good, no harm, will come from abandoning envy and instead rejoicing."