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Openness is our greatest human resource.

Celebrate the Happiness of Another

I like to visit the Campaign for Love and Forgiveness from time to time. This piece especially spoke to me today. The online ritual of forgiveness is a favorite aspect of this ongoing project. 

From their site:

Love

Image of men forgivingCelebrate the Happiness of Another
In The Kabbalah of Envy, Rabbi Nilton Bonder explains a practice that will reinforce love in any situation. "Yiddish has a very special verb, unknown to most other languages: farginen. It means to open space, to share pleasure; it is the exact opposite of the verb to envy. While envy means disliking or resenting the happiness of others, farginen means making a pact with another individual's pleasure or happiness."

The next time you hear about someone else's good fortune, notice your reaction. Do you find yourself having to force a smile and giving rather insincere congratulations? Do you ask, "Why didn't this happen to me?" It is in such moments that many relationships start to deteriorate, so it is important to be able to practice farginen with another person instead.

"To develop the ability to farginen," Bonder advises, "we must first recall from our own experience those moments when we were able to do it. And if this feeling was sincere, it will certainly have been felt with great happiness, a kind of catharsis. Every time we are able to celebrate someone else's happiness, we will, by definition, have greater reason to celebrate ourselves. In this way, we can widen our chances for enjoying life, freeing ourselves from the imprisonment of our own luck. Farginen sets up networks of confidence that enrich life."

Desmond Tutu and Dalai Lama hugging Show Simple Affection
Do you shy away from hugging family or friends? From putting an arm around someone's shoulder or showing affection to your husband, wife or partner in front of your children? Many of us like to receive affection. A pat on the back, a smile and squeeze of a hand can generate good feelings. Still, social conventions and fear of what people may think can stop us from expressing our feelings in simple physical gestures. Perhaps we need more of that. Over the next week, try showing more affection to your family and friends. Note how it makes you feel and whether you detect any shifts in your relationships because of it.

May 3rd, 2009

Comments:

Comment #1 by Anonymous on May 4, 2009 - 2:01am

Thank you for sharing this. I often find myself in envy of others' relationships, great jobs, and self-security; all the things I lack. I've been praying for the ability to be happy for others. I don't like feeling jealously. At times it feels like a disease. I will take heed to the post. Thanks, again.

Comment #2 by Anonymous on May 4, 2009 - 8:38pm

Wonderful! I especially liked the part about simple affection. I was not showered with physical affection as a child and vacillated between extremes as a result of that for a while. I've found a balance now though. :)

Comment #3 by Super Amanda on May 9, 2009 - 7:25pm

This is beautiful. I feel there is a lot less puffery and envy in the air now that the economy has leveled the karma of " the Jones'."

Nice to see Kabbalah mentioned away from madonna who uses it as a means to aid neo-Colonialist white man's burden child snatching.

Comment #4 by rebecca on May 19, 2009 - 10:01am
Ha!
Comment #5 by Anonymous on May 31, 2009 - 9:32am

"Yiddish has a very special verb, unknown to most other languages: farginen. It means to open space, to share pleasure; it is the exact opposite of the verb to envy. While envy means disliking or resenting the happiness of others, farginen means making a pact with another individual's pleasure or happiness."

True. Our language is superior compared to other languages - as we are to other people.

I feel proud to be in the ranks of the chosen people.

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This is beautiful. I feel there is a lot less puffery and envy in the air now that the economy has leveled the karma of " the Jones'."

Nice to see Kabbalah mentioned away from madonna who uses it as a means to aid neo-Colonialist white man's burden child snatching

Comment #8 by Swim shorts on July 29, 2010 - 9:18am

I've been praying for the ability to be happy for others. I don't like jealously sort of feelings. One should work to overcome such bad elements in life.

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I feel there is a lot less puffery and envy in the air now that the economy has leveled the karma of " the Jones'."

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It's one thing to realize that you should welcome success, but it's another thing to entirely to actually do it. The latter requires a proper philosophical basis; it can't be faked or simply brought about because you feel that "it's important".

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