The Heart of Envy

The trick about being recognized for your contributions, for your greatness, is that you have to completely let go of being recognized. We wander around the earth, envious of what everyone else has, perhaps envious of the recognition, notoriety, and fame others are receiving. This is a longstanding ball and chain for many, and was for me for a long time, too. Intuitively, we know that envy makes no sense, but how do we see through its bullshit?

Envy, like any comparison, is at its heart simply delusion. Knowing we inherited it as a perspective and a conditioning helps free us from the spiritual materialism that says, “I shouldn’t be feeling this way! I’m a trained yogi! I should be more mature than this!” Recognizing that envy is never something we would choose for ourselves to feel separates it from the Self and becomes not who we are but some very nasty weather we’re experiencing. Recognizing that envy is a delusion is also helpful, even if it is only a mental recognition and not yet a heartfelt understanding. We can remember, again and again, “ah! I never would choose envy, so this is not my doing,” and then, “ah! envy is not aligned, not harmonious, not true-to-liberation, so it is delusion!” We recognize these two truths, not to dispel envy, but to soften our identification with it and to take heart in our actual intentions. Just as with any somatic healing process, recognizing what you have inherited (rather than created), is a great first step.

With these two characteristics recognized, there exists perhaps the smallest toehold for compassion: Of course envy happens, we have been conditioned to experience envy. Of course envy is dramatically uncomfortable, it is not in harmony with truth. This compassion can then lead to insight, but it must first act purely as a soother, allowing sediment to settle and allowing the water to clear, accompanied by a return to ease in its own time. Without this return and this settling, the heartfelt knowledge cannot happen, and it certainly cannot be bullied or efforted into being. Healing, true intuitive healing, from envy, jealousy, or other suffering related to comparison, happens through simple knowing, abiding, and letting go. When a return to ease happens, the first time or the mpth-teenth time, we see the true nature of the delusion of envy. The lens of comparison, seeing others’ recognition, acclaim, or gifts in contrast with our own, is built on the three pillars:

1. I am separate from other people.

2. Acclaim (Love) is a zero sum game.

3. Having what they have would make me enough or happy.

The functioning of envy relies on a lens that always points out and collects information about others. It is the opposite of reception which is the only path that allows for a fully embodied experience of ease, enoughness, and love. Envy has zero space to receive anything and is a pointedly one-way street.

Exercise: Sit, stand or lie down. Ground and clear. Bring to mind just one point of envy. Feel the robbery in the body, the lack, the scarcity. Feel the unfairness or the anger or the emptiness. Notice where you feel this most in the body. Now imagine this feeling is an object. Take your time and allow it to take form, noting the texture, tone, or visual image. It may be something you’ve seen before or something entirely new to you. If many images come, just use the first one. Gently allow the object or formation to move from inside your body to outside of your body so you can observe it more fully. Allow it to become its own entity apart from you. Notice your relationship to the object, to these feelings that have come forth. You might feel angry, sad, or tender in relationship with it, you might feel bound or spacious. As lightly as possible, allow this object to be there outside of your body at whatever distance feels right. The object may begin to morph or change. It may begin to communicate with you. And how you feel towards it may begin to change as well. Be easy and slow, allowing it to shift in its own time or to remain as it is for now.


To conclude, turn your attention back to a place in the body that is neutral, ground and clear simply, and gently come back to relative time-space.