June 5, 2014 by Zuri
“The Ego is not who you really are. The ego is your self-image; it is your social mask; it is the role you are playing. Your social mask thrives on approval. It wants control, and it is sustained by power, because it lives in fear.”
– Deepak Chopra
I’m having a fit of jealousy right now, and I don’t like it. Jealousy is shallow and vain. It goes against everything I believe as a practicing Buddhist. It’s craving for what others have, attachment to them, competitiveness – all things that Buddhism teaches against.
I was informed today that someone I know received extra college money from the school for the fall semester. I’m very happy for them, they worked hard and deserve what they got. On the other hand, I’m jealous. I worked hard, too. We both succeeded in getting on Dean’s list. We both struggled with difficult classes and still got passing grades. They got rewarded. I didn’t.
I’m told that jealousy is natural, and something we all must accept as a part of being human. I can’t agree with that. Jealousy shows a lack of control over myself and how I feel. It’s a lack of discipline. In Buddhism, we look at our pain, accept our pain, are one with our pain, and let go of our pain. I’m having trouble accepting this.
I strive to do my best in school. I think part of the problem is my attachment to success. I work hard and achieve, and I tend to expect to get something out of it (other than the accumulation of knowledge). Dean’s List, Honors, Scholarships, etc. I guess I am attached to them, and crave them. If I’m not doing my best, then I’m not succeeding, no matter what my GPA says.
Letting go of the ego is one of the hardest lessons to learn in Buddhism. The sense that there is no ego (no “self” or “I”) is contradictory to everything we’ve been taught from birth to present day. Especially in the American mindset of bigger is better, success is everything, go go go, win win win. Life isn’t a football game.
I think this is an issue that I need to meditate on. There has to be a way for me to accept and let go of my jealousy and get myself back on track.