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Mudita

The previous piece about equanimity got me thinking about another one of the four brahma-viharas that just makes me smile (sympathetic joy), and I love the Pali word for it: Mudita. No doubt, the underlying concept has a lot to do with it, but I really love the word--it's a great one to have in your hip pocket!

Being happy for another's happiness, without condition, is something everyone should embrace-- even if the other person is on the other team. I know that's a heavy lift but after all, 'tis the season. Let's all add mudita to our "to do" list, for 2023 and years to come.

One definition of happiness? Celebrating other peoples' happiness. And since someone, somewhere is always bound to be happy, we can share a modicum of their happiness pretty much all the time. As one of my all-time favorites (JT) once wrote, the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time-- and I think mudita is the secret to enjoying happiness.

How many times have you said something along the lines of, "I'm so happy for you"-- and how did it make you feel? That's a feeling we can experience a lot more, if we begin to take joy in the happiness of others. If you're someone who doesn't, or can't or won't do that, you might want to think about it, because you're really missing out.

So much of happiness (which is widely perceived in today's culture as subjective) -- is about us. But even though the most obvious form of happiness may be the happiness we feel for ourselves, there is also a less obvious form of happiness available to us-- the happiness we can feel for others.

Taking delight in the good fortune of others makes them feel even better, and it also benefits us. A win/win that is actually and truly a win/win. Imagine that! The plusses are obvious, and the negatives are virtually non-existent.

Centuries ago, it was called mudita. Today, we might refer to it as shared humanity. Whatever the case, embracing the happiness of others is good medicine-- for all of us.



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