Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Problem With Resenting Others When They Prosper

Whenever you hear that someone else has been successful, rejoice. Always practice rejoicing for others--whether your friend or your enemy. If you cannot practice rejoicing, no matter how long you live, you will not be happy.” - Lama Zopa Rinpoche

The 10th Commandment says, “Do not desire your neighbor’s [possessions]…” It is one of the wisest commandments in my view. The first commandment smacks of insecurity. It portrays a god who is afraid that “His” devotees will jump ship and start admiring other gods. In the panentheistic view that I hold, there is one infinite
Source (called in our culture “God”) and this “ground of being” is in all life and all life is in It. There is no Other to fear.

The second and third commandments are related to the first, demanding a certain reverence for God as God was understood in the community that produced the Decalogue. The fourth commandment also is meant to honor the deity but it lends itself to an interpretation of much needed self-care. It may be more relevant than the three that precede it.

The fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth commandments are common sense rules that can be summed up in the Golden Rule (treat others the way you would like to be treated).

But the tenth commandment gives us an important insight that we may need to learn and relearn throughout our lives; and learning it can make us much happier.

You see, we have often believed there was not really enough good to go around. We become resentful or jealous or angry or bitter when someone does what we thought we wanted to do, or when they get what we thought we wanted to have. We forget that we live in an abundant universe, and there is no shortage of possibilities. We don’t need to resent our friends (or even our enemies) when they appear to be blessed. Our good will not be delayed by someone else’s; but our good can be delayed by our resentment of others.

Do not covet your neighbor’s abundance, because there is still plenty of Universal Good to supply your needs. When someone recovers from illness or financial difficulty or when someone is promoted or complimented, rejoice! Seeing our neighbors’ blessings is a message to us that blessings still exist and still are available. Our neighbor’s good fortune is a witness that ours may be at hand. But
resenting their opportunities will only close off our hearts from receiving our own.

St. Paul said, “Rejoice…always!” Not just when we win, but every time Good is made manifest in anyone’s life. As we celebrate Good whenever it shows up for anyone, we are actually inviting it into our own experience, and it will respond to our invitation.

Coveting builds a consciousness of lack, which then produces more lack. Instead, be glad whenever, wherever, and for whomever Good is made manifest; such rejoicing builds a consciousness of abundance, which will then bring abundance into our experience.

I wish you many blessings!


1. Have no other gods (than the “LORD” or “YHWH”, sometimes called
2. Do not have images of other gods.
3. Do not use the divine name (“YHWH”) in vain.
4. Honor the Sabbath day.
5. Honor your parents.
6. Don’t murder.
7. Don’t commit adultery.
8. Don’t steal.
9. Don’t lie against someone in court (“You shall not bear false
witness against your neighbor”)
10. You shall not covet…

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