Ever since I came back from the retreat, I have been delighting in the practice of mudita, or sympathetic joy. This is not an easy practice, for the mind's got strange ideas that can get in the way . . .
Leigh's talk was very helpful. Here are my notes.
First, is the common misunderstanding that one should only rejoice for others. This is overlooking the teaching of the Buddha, that says one should extend mudita on to all 'as on to oneself'. Hence, we start rejoicing for our good fortune whenever present. We need not be shy. We may say, 'May my good fortune continue and increase.'
Next, we also rejoice for others' good fortune, with all our heart. And we say, 'May your good fortune continue and increase.' We do so, guarding from envy, and the more subtle, near enemies of mudita, such as rejoicing through identification. Leigh gave the example of a mother who gladly rejoices for her son's success in school, but is unable to feel the same kind of joy for her neighbor's child's success.
I find mudita is really a mindfulness practice. 'Seeing' the mind's inclination to rein in the joy for oneself, for others, and seeing the suffering attached, the sometimes barely noticeable contraction that keeps the joy from freely flowing.
How often do you rejoice?