Today when the students had finished their practice and they arose from savasana, I felt a sense of joy. But it wasn’t something about myself or some accomplishment that encouraged the feeling, it was the comment from some of the students of the ‘break-through’ they had had while practicing headstand. So my joy was from their joy, Mudita.
Mudita is known as compassionate joy for others. When someone does a beautiful arching back bend we can’t do or when your friend gets a promotion that we didn’t, we might feel joy for them. The opposite feeling of this is called Schadenfreude, which means taking delight in others suffering instead.
When we have capacity to feel joy for others’ accomplishments it springs from a well of abundance, that we have enough joy in our life already, enough blessings, and from this position we are able to offer joy to those around us.
We are not always going to be this way. When go through difficult times, instead of expression of compassionate joy we might feel jealous, unworthy, fearful or joyless. However even in darker moments we can always practise exercising some small forms of joy. Maybe we are ill but we might catch a beautiful sight out of our window from where we lay, or maybe we are broken-hearted but we manage to find some comfort in our garden, cooking a beautiful meal or spending time with friends. There is always an opportunity to count your blessings and when we feel some gratitude in life we can open more to the joy of others.
Joy is an unconditional state that is always there to greet us if we are open. There is enough joy to go around and if you take time to experience your joy and those of others you will experience a lot more of it in your life. The joy will multiply.
Practice for today: Where can you feel absolute joy for the success of others? If you feel a restriction around celebrating compassionate joy what is it you fear? There is plenty to go around and bringing your joy to others and celebrating joy in all its forms will see mudita multiply.