Here's an outline of the upcoming class. Plus below is an 11 minute video about mindfulness and the ego. If the ego gets involved in our Empathic Joy practice, it can set off comparing. When this happens we run into the main hurdle of envy, jealousy and other problems for joy.
Here's what we covered or tried to cover last time. We're going to lead off from here on the next class.
This class will try to focus on the practice of compassion as it relates to suffering. The last two slides on this page goes into this with more detail.
After reviewing Mindfulness and the ego, we'll discuss how ego generates the comparing mind. This process of comparing is one of the major hindrances to feeling empathic joy. Envy and jealousy are common patterns that really get in the way of joy.
Here's a working definition of emotion. Joy is an emotion and it's helpful to have a framework to understand the fabric and texture of joy.
By looking into the body, your joy is "embodied" compared to joy being a thought.
There's a lot to say about suffering. For our purposes though, here's a snapshot of suffering.
In order to be awake, we need to see things clearly inside of ourselves. At the same time, we don't live in a precious bubble all to ourselves. Therefore to be fully awake, we need to see clearly what is happening in our society and environment. Thus working with suffering includes our community and planet.
Here's practical definition of compassion.
Like a definition of compassion, a lot can be said about empathy. Here's a straightforward working definition of empathy.
During the class, we'll put compassion and empathy together and discuss how they relate and compliment each other.
Note what compassion can feel like: it can actually feel pleasant because when you are compassionate you are caring. And caring is generally considered to be a pleasant feeling.
In this way, we can transform suffering and compassion into something pleasant to feel and do.
If we bring the ego back into the equation, it might decide to resist or avert suffering. When this happens, we spend a lot of energy avoiding suffering.
The energy invested in avoiding suffering could be invested in joy instead.
Instead of facing suffering with compassion head on, we might compare our state of being to something better, or "what could be." By what "could be" we mean joy.
This can lead to grasping for the exhilaration of of joy. This grasping has several consequences.
If we seek better states than the one we are currently living in, we can fall into craving and greed for joy. There's more "wanting" than mindfulness going on in this situation. As a result, our joy can become unstable because our real intention is to avoid and run away rather than abide in joy. This means joy isn't authentic or genuine, but rather unstable since we're simply trying to keep ahead of suffering.
Therefore, we need to practice compassion in the face of suffering.