[0038]Indulging livingness

Podcards

Mar 28 2022 • 3 mins


Muditā (मुदिता) means sympathetic or vicarious joy. It is one of the four brahmavihārās (ब्रह्मविहारा), the sublime attitudes, and also the hardest to cultivate, perhaps harder in our day and age as we see abject inequality around us. Your happiness is tainted by the suffering of others to the point where you unconsciously resent the simple moments of joy in your life and in the lives of those around you. Indeed, when someone has fortune and felicity undeservedly heaped upon him, it doesn’t seem fair to all those who suffer. Apart from resentment being no damn good to anyone, such feelings more likely arise out of the ordinary human appetite for competitiveness which in turn is driven by fear blended with the volatile energies of sex. Remind yourself that those successful people often got there by throwing themselves into the turbulent gulf stream of life for the sheer pleasure of experiencing it in its fullness. You can allow yourself to revel in the joy of others: in the ebullience of happy children; in the intrepid passion of the adventurer, entrepreneur, or artist; in the triumph of the sportsman.

There is happiness in doing and it is most natural to derive pleasure from your actions. We, like all animals, get our stability and form by the perpetual motion of our various disparate parts. In fact, our actuating faculties carry in themselves the impulse to their own exercise, and in that exercise there is pleasure—the delight of sheer aliveness. “Wherever a process of life communicates an eagerness to him who lives it,” says William James, “there the life becomes genuinely significant.” That fleeting feeling of aliveness is often serendipitous and the moments of unbridled delight it evokes seem incommunicable, perhaps that is why our language has no fixed term or turn of phrase for such experiences. The French expression joie de vivre comes closest to describing the sheer ebullience of experiencing life; that simply being alive is an extraordinary experience. And even though you may be suffering all sorts of hardship or illness, in this moment you allow the ecstatic rapture of life to envelope you and spirit you away to a place devoid of time and space—for to miss the joy is to miss all.

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