What is the opposite of envy? Generosity? Happiness? Satisfaction? Modesty? Perhaps all of it. But basically I feel, the opposite, and perfect antidote to envy is the knowledge of being loved by Love, God. Before we can feel generous and happy and express satisfaction and peace it is important to feel that we have something to share.
In a limited world without God everything is limited, but this is not the true story of mankind. There is more to life than eyes can see and ears behold – and this more is supreme, limitless, intelligent, wonderful Principle Soul, the dear Father-Mother. Soul is surrounding us, balancing us, enriching us, forming constructive and colorful relationships for us, strengthening our joy and gratitude and giving us life – and we know that God exists because we exist. There is no other explanation.
Envy presented itself to me in a very disturbing way some time ago. It came to me when an opportunity was given to my best friend, an offer that I felt, was meant for me. Why her and not me? How to reconcile the envy and the friendship? While attending a service I thought about this dilemma and I asked to be freed from this negativity and nagging feeling, envy. And the answer came clearly with the tenth commandment:
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
How could I do this? After all, this is a commandent, not an option. How could I see that all opportunities are mine? That mine is the fullness of life and joy as much as my friend's? Again, that answer came clearly with a commandment, this time with the first one: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Ex. 20: 4 and 17).
Keeping the first commandment enables us to keep the tenth, I thought. It makes sense to have the first as the first. It teaches me to acknowledge the unity and supremacy of good, to see unlimited possibilities of eternity and Spirit, the joy of divine Life. Here nothing is tight, restricted – everything is free to all. Could I accept that? Of course – and it felt easy to let go; the mental thorns fell of and the velvet of pure goodness filled my thinking. It feels so good to be free from envy. Indeed: "Envy is the atmosphere of hell." ('02, p.3: 28)
My friend asked me a few weeks later whether she could offer this opportunity to me. I honestly do not know, I answered. Let's find out together, I said. Let's listen and pray together. There is definitely enough space and opportunity for all.
Eventually both of us finally decided on different actions and were led to other opportunities, blessing us both immensely. In the face of colorful, divine supply of boundless, beautiful good, embracing everyone, envy is small, very small and ugly and pinched, only large enough to notice it and to walk away from it, forever. Thinking in the divine way of generosity and wideness, and walking in the practical application of solidarity with our fellow sister and brother, as faithfully and courageously as we possibly can --- this is the way.
Envy was not transformed, as anything negative ever is. Envy was not lifted to the level of my thinking any more. It was left behind for the richness of the holiness of Spirit.
You will be at peace when you know that Spirit is your life. You will have the courage to be honest when you know that you are the reflection of spiritual power. You will have deeper faith when you feel and know that spiritual understanding is already yours as God’s own child. You will have more compassion with yourself and others when you know that you are the image and likeness of Love. Already now. You have all the information you need.
Imagine what aliens might hear if they listened to the earthlings from their space station on Alpha Centauri with their version of a giant radio telescope? Well, billions and billions of different sounds evaporating into time and space - inexplicable sounds, technical noise, explosions, machine guns, dogs barking, birds singing, flouting tea kettles, hundreds of washing machines spinning. Also billions and billions of cries, laughters, lots of technical noise - and an ever present human choir of murmur. Sung by murmurers. Thousands of years ago this choir enter the stage of the human condition, when the Israelites resisted their outlined path from slavery to freedom with complaining, questioning and murmurings - a Hebrew word meaning complaining and a "malicious whispering of slander", as a Dictionary has it. Murmuring is a kind of egoistic resistance to something good, it doesn't improve anything and keeps one pinned on the carousel of challenges. Talk about patience when remembering Moses (and read Exodus 16).
Humanity is a complaining species, one might think when one considers the resistance against the very good proposals for a different way of living as set forth by Jesus. What? Sharing? Humility and meekness? What? Walking a second mile? Giving your coat? Forgiving? The noise of complaint, an inner renitency against everything from accepting governments to doing the laundry to living peacefully with our neighbor to family members, who are different from us. Opposition, opposition, opposition.
Mary Baker Eddy is quoted in the diary of her secretary that whenever she felt tempted to murmur over her trials or burdens she would open her Bible to where the children of Israel murmured and found fault with God. I remembered this recently and have made it a point in leaving the choir of murmurers once and for all. And be willing to accept the abundant life, the freedom, lightheartedness, and joy that flows from the spirituality of being. Little complaints stem from the tale of desperation that material living brings - they make us stumble over small things or slow us down by fastening us with barbed hooks to material circumstances. It is said in the New Testament about Moses that he was chosen for the task to lead the children of Israel out of enslavement for one special quality: meekness. Meekness is the superb quality of being an empty slate before God, letting the supreme intelligence of the universe be expressed effortlessly and without any sense of questioning in our experience. That is the opposite of being a doormat - it means true unselfishness, true individuality.
What a relief to say "yes" to any demand. A life without sighing (not even when the doorbell rings and you have just sat down for a cup of tea and your favorite show), daily life as service. All the time needed to explain why this or that cannot be done: saved, by simply doing it. To refrain from murmurings puts humility into your heart and a joy into your day that supersedes everything else.
If you feel you cannot possibly do this, if you feel you have all the right in the world to feel the way you think you feel, give it a try for one week. Resist every attempt to resist good, eliminate feelings of competition and egotism, say yes to little requests from your surrounding, be generous. Just one week. And while you are up to the task, take a little break once in a while with a dance. This will help you to remember that you also have got that "sunshine in your pocket".
I feel that something of this is captured in the wonderfully gifted composer, performer, and musician Justin Timberlake's "Can't stop the feeling" - and I especially love the fact that it is about some sense of lightheartedness within the workforce. Working people! John, Paloma, Philip - is it a stretch to say, that the sunshine in your pocket is felt where labor is transformed into service and hardships accepted as a necessity to grow? The stand on the farmer's market where I get my groceries has this sense of joy and love day in, day out, spring, summer, fall, winter. Humbling.
My wonderful Christian Science teacher would say: Lets take the lemons and lets make lemonade from it. And how do lemons grow in the first place? With lots of sunshine.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
I invest in peace.
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