At its core, jealousy is actually fear. Specifically, it is a fear of being diminished or made less… and it comes directly from the ego. In fact, perhaps no emotional response is so aligned with the ego as jealousy is.
Ego is an often used term but, for many, it may lack a clear and specific meaning. Let’s provide one now.
Ego is a created identity based upon an attachment to the material world, which includes roles, relationships, physical possessions, the body, and thinking. The material world not only defines the ego but gives it life; without an attachment to the material world the ego has nothing to identify itself by and so does not exist.
The problem with such an arrangement is the nature of the material world itself: it is changing and it is fleeting. This causes the ego much consternation — it needs the material world for survival but the material world cannot be controlled, or counted on, for long.
When the material world “cooperates” and reinforces the ego’s identity in a way the ego feels comfortable with, everything is fine. But when the material world doesn’t cooperate or behaves in a way that doesn’t reinforce, or even threatens, the ego’s identity then the ego personality lashes out in an effort to whip the material world back into shape (so to speak).
Where this effort to control is successful it doesn’t remain successful for very long. Those material world things the ego has become attached to — the life roles, a particular relationship, the state of the physical body — do eventually change and / or fall away. It is inevitable. And within this reality the ego sees its demise.
Jealousy is the ego’s fear response to losing one of its attachments. It’s often a relationship with another person but it may also be a possession, or status. As much as we may feel the ego’s presence however something about the ego is undeniable: it is not us. We know this because we can step back, so to speak, from the ego and observe it.
It is there, and we are here.
This truth, that we are not the ego and it is not us, is the epitome of spiritual enlightenment. To stop accepting the ego, and its output (the voice in our heads), as our genuine self is stepping through the door of the Divine. Are you ready to step through? Do you really want to?
We are, most of us, far more familiar with being led along by the ego. The ego voice tells us what’s right, what’s wrong, what is best, what would be satisfying and what is unacceptable. Most people live their entire lives accepting this voice — life stories — as truth. The problem with this is that where the ego feels insecure and upset, so do we. Since the ego is dependent upon the unstable material world, it is often insecure and upset.
And we follow along.
Jealousy is a good place to break the connection; to restore the natural space between the ego and us. How then can we deal with this jealousy and return to ourselves in the process?
Do nothing but observe the thought streams that precede the experience of jealousy as well as the experience of jealousy itself. Sit with the jealousy; watch it; listen to it; accept that it is there. Be an observer as much as possible, as you might observe clouds moving through the sky. This is not always easy to do as we often fall into emotional states of being rather than remaining detached and simply observing, but it can certainly be done and also becomes easier with practice.
When you deny your participation the ego grows weaker, as your bond with it diminishes. More and more space is created and in time the ego fades into the background.
Then, what is left is really you.