As much as I love how social media is connecting the world, I have to admit, some times it gets a bit overwhelming. If I’m not skillful with how I navigate my various feeds, it’s very easy for me to be pulled under the white-capped waves of Lake FOMO. I see all the vacations I didn’t get to go on. I see all the places I’ll probably never get to visit. I see gear I wish I had. I see photographs I wish I’d taken of moments I wish I had shared. Jealousy and envy quickly give way to doubt and defeat.
But if I’m skillful in my surfing, I don’t see missed opportunities, I see inspiration and connection. I see growth and possibility. In Buddhism there is a term called “Mudita” and one way it has been translated is “sympathetic joy”. Most of us are familiar with empathy, but we usually only associate it with feeling the pain of others. Rarely, if ever, do we associate it with feeling the happiness and joy of others.
If we can train ourselves to feel the happiness of anyone, regardless whether we think they deserve it, then there is no limit to our happiness. We are no longer bound to only being happy when good things happen to us. If we are open and able to feel the joy of others, we no longer just feel happiness and joy, we become them. If one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure, surely one person’s happiness can be another person’s joy.
Photographed in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 2019