Your Questions, My Answers ~ JEALOUSY
"I’m planning to
get married, but am a bit hesitant, as my boyfriend
is quite jealous; if I go out anywhere without him,
he always asks afterwards where I went, who I went
with, and what we did. His suspicion makes me feel
guilty, even though I’ve done nothing wrong.
I hope he’ll change if we get married, but what
if he doesn’t?"
You have identified the cause of potential
disaster and so are able to take some precautions.
But it is better to know something of the nature of
this destructive and dangerous emotion, so as to be
more able to decide what to do, for the decision is
ultimately yours; no-one can tell you what to do in
such matters, more than that your heart should not
over-rule your head.
Jealousy knows no frontiers, and probably
we are all subject to it at some time or other, either
to have the demon gnawing away inside us, or directed
at us from outside by someone else. Much trouble and
hatred, killing and war has been—and still is—caused
by jealousy, as it blinds us and prevents us from
seeing things clearly, so that, often before we realize,
it has led us to say and do things that, normally,
we would not do.
Jealousy, and other emotions like anger,
spite, hatred, malice, greed, etc., are of the ego,
and are forms of insanity—yes, insanity! Most
of us, who think we are quite reasonable, rational,
thoughtful and sane—not very good, not too bad—might
think this incorrect, but it’s true. When we
are angry or jealous, we are insane. The next time
you are angry or jealous, observe what is happening,
without trying to control or change the situation;
maybe you will learn something from it; maybe you
will see that it is a form of insanity. And the more
often we are carried away by these powerful emotions,
the more we are insane; some of us, therefore, are
seldom sane. Unfortunately, most people do not realize
their insanity, and live under the delusion that they
are sane while others are not. That is why we sometimes
hear people say, "Nobody understands me".
One wonders if they understand themselves. Probably
Is not the society we have created and live
in mentally unstable, being based upon greed and acquisitiveness?
Great numbers of us think sanity is just a matter
of being educated and getting a job, settling down,
starting a family, buying a house, becoming ‘successful’.
We read books, repeat what others have said, and think
we are clever and wise; but many of us do not think
for ourselves, and seldom have an original thought
of our own; it’s easier to press buttons and
be provided with automatic entertainment. We have
sacrificed our originality, spontaneity and humanness
for the push-button technology that runs our lives.
For many of us, however, it is not a sacrifice at
all, but something of a relief, perhaps, to relinquish
responsibility and become automatons and zombies.
The trouble is that we do not realize the sickness
of this, and so are unable to improve or recover.
We often feel helpless when jealousy arises,
because it is so powerful and comes upon us so quickly;
not only that, but it creeps up on us without us really
knowing it, and by the time we are aware of its dark
presence, it is usually so much in control that it
is very difficult to overcome. Another factor that
gives it strength is that for thousands of years we
have been told by religion, society, parents, teachers,
friends and others that ‘jealousy is bad’,
and that we shouldn’t be jealous or else we
shall be ‘bad’. Now, most of us do not
want to be labeled ‘bad’, or to think
of ourselves as such, of course, so what happens when
jealousy (or other ‘bad’ emotions) arises
in us and we become aware of it? We are afraid of
it, because its presence, if noticed, will mean that
others might call us ‘bad’ and dislike
us; and so, because we find it very difficult to overcome
the jealousy itself, we try to cover it up, hide it,
and pretend it doesn’t exist; we are ashamed
of this emotion because we think that, really, we
are quite nice people, and that therefore, to be associated
with such a disreputable character as jealousy would
give us a bad name. But let us halt for a moment in
the midst of our head-long flight from this demon,
and look into the mechanics, the psychology of it—the
thing we are fleeing from, and the flight itself—and
try to understand it.
Doors, locks and security guards can keep
out thieves but not jealousy; it permeates where even
the finest dust cannot blow. Every organization—be
it social, business, political or religious—is
vulnerable to it. It enters like an assassin, often
with a smile on its face and assurances of sincerity
and friendship on its lips, waiting for the time to
strike. It transforms friends into enemies, love into
hate, trust into distrust, peace into war. No-one
is secure from this enemy. If it settles and grows
strong in a person’s heart, it may lead him
to do things that otherwise he would not do; under
the malignant influence of jealousy, there is nothing
that some of us will not do—kill, steal, lie,
cheat, and so on; we can even act against our own
interests and destroy the things we love the most,
just to prevent others from having and enjoying them.
A woman who had driven off her husband by
her possessiveness, could not bear to see her daughter
happily married while she was alone. Her jealousy
became so strong, and dominated her mind so much that
she bought a gun, let herself into her daughter’s
house late one night, and shot her son-in-law has
he lay in her daughter’s arms. At her murder
trial, she claimed she had a right to kill her husband,
as he was raping her daughter. The judge replied by
telling her that the man she had shot was her daughter’s
husband, not hers!
Jealousy can lead us to hate not only the
bad in others, but also the good in them; it is truly
a most corruptive quality.
Is there anything you can do about it? Indeed
there is. It can be countered by reflecting on the
damage it can cause both to oneself and to others,
and the benefits that can result if it is overcome.
As jealousy is largely the product of misdirected
thought, it can be overcome by correctly directed
thought—by seeing it as not being to one’s
own or others’ advantage—and replaced
by an appreciation of, and a rejoicing in, the happiness,
prosperity and the good of others; on the physical
level, this finds expression in acts of kindness,
generosity, and sharing with others.
Of course, this will seldom be easy, and
will require effort and perseverance, because not
only are emotions like jealousy, resentment and malice
deep rooted, but our greed based society inculcates
and strengthens them in us. Yet, if we reach the point
where we honestly recognize them for what they are,
it can be done.