Envy: The Killer Emotion
It is much easier to admit to an emotion like anxiety or fear or guilt than it is to admit to envy. Envy is the emotion of desire and lust. The reason that it is such a killer emotion is that it turns the heart from goals that are lofty and noble to ones that are in the dust. Envy is not jealousy although the two are often used interchangeable. Envy is the desire for something that you don’t have which you somehow believe will make life easier or more pleasurable, whereas jealousy is the protection of something that you have that is under threat of being taken. When you are jealous as in a relationship it means that you are already in a relationship, things are not going as you would like them to, you feel under threat by another person or outside force, and then you do a lot of coping behavior to try to get the relationship on safe ground.
Most people envy an easier life because the life they are currently living is full of stress or pain. Envy is about escaping the stress and pain by seeking an easier life. The problem with envy is that it destroys the aspirations you have for a higher calling or a higher goal. It can really easily just take over and become the master of your house, the master of your self.
When you have desire that is out of control toward lustful goals, your mind imagines a future state where there is very little stress and a lot of the easy pleasure-filled life. Then you just keep thinking those thoughts because the thought by itself has a certain amount of release to it from the stress. When you start acting on it, then the envy takes over. It causes you to forget higher aspirations which is why you can see that so many leaders start with some good ideals, but when they taste the power and benefits of it, the ideals are soon forgotten.
Remembering your ideals and pursuing them without being so stressed or tensed is the key. It is the stress that turns people from ideals to lust. When you wake up in the morning and the dream you have of something lofty like serving your community is full of tension, then there is a tendency to fantasize a state of pleasure and joy to just take away the tension.
Since we all live in cultures that are overrun with envy and encourage us in the direction of lust, it is no surprise to me that whenever I have dream meetings, the most common question people have is that of why they can’t remember their dreams. When you are having difficulties remember your night time dreams, you probably are also having difficulties remembering the dreams you once had that were high and lofty. Your ego has taken over and succumbed to the modern world. Admitting to envy isn’t so easy because lust carries a lot of religious judgment with it. When you are not remembering the dreams you had at night, you can ask yourself the questions about envy. What am I envying? What dreams have I given up on?
Power maybe the worst of the things to envy because once people get it they are usually corrupted as the saying goes. Power has an addictive element to it. When a leader is stressed, for instance, because of a difficult person in the organization, using power allows the leader to get rid of the stress by eliminating the person. The leader imagines a positive state without the person, then eliminates the person, and then feels a great deal of pleasurable relief when the troublesome person is gone.
When you don’t have a lot of power to eliminate others, you are really at an advantage because instead of being able to eliminate people with power, you have to do deal with the stress. However, most people are not very good at that either. For instance, if your relationship with your wife is becoming stressful, many men just begin to envy pleasure outside of the marriage and choose an affair over dealing with the stress.
Why does the stress come in? The main reason for stress, in my opinion, is that the culture of the modern world makes things much more important than they were ever meant to be. We could get to a life that is much more joyful, by being lighter and more playful in our everyday interactions and work.
The meaning of envy is this. When you have a lot of it, you are not pursuing what you really want to pursue. You are stuck in someone else’s ego goals pushing yourself to get somewhere, but only ending up in a lot of stress hoping for a different life, but not finding one. Now is the time to start playing more so that you can get to the life of nobler dreams.