Your Happiness Makes Me Happy
In mindfulness meditation there is a traditional practice called mudita, or appreciative joy. Mudita is the heart-based practice of feeling joy and happiness for others, and celebrating their happiness, good fortune and success. While mudita may be a lesser-known practice in modern times, it is one that can have great influence over our own personal happiness.
“When I practice mudita for you, your happiness makes me happy.”
Though this may seem counterintuitive at first, the basic idea is that when I celebrate your happiness, joy and success, and really take it into my heart, and even feel feelings of happiness on your behalf, I experience happiness too. Therefore, one of my favorite ways to summarize mudita meditation to my students is by saying, “When I practice mudita for you, your happiness makes me happy.” That is the revolutionary practice of appreciative joy and mudita meditation. It asks us to step out of our comfort zone or usual way of relating to others success with jealousy, judgment or comparing mind, and gives us the opportunity to do something different and feel happiness for them instead.
For instance, when your best friend gets married before you, or your neighbor starts a new house renovation, or your colleague gets a new job promotion, instead of letting comparison mind take over, such as, “Well, I’m just not ready to get married yet, but I will be soon.” Or, “I’ll start my house renovation soon and show them I can also make my house the most fabulous and gorgeous one on our street too.” Or “Why did they get the promotion when I work just as hard? They don’t deserve it, I do!” Like I mention in my new book, Kindness Now where we spend a whole seven whole days on mudita meditation practice, in these very same instances you can try responding with appreciative joy instead.
“May your happiness never diminish or leave you.”
Here are some of my top mudia meditation mantras from Day 19 of Kindness Now, titled, Your Happiness Makes Me Happy, to repeat silently in your mind when you encounter any circumstance that is similar to the above situations.
- “May your happiness and good fortune (continue to) grow and increase.”
- “May your happiness never diminish or leave you.”
- “Your happiness makes me happy.”
- “Thank you for sharing your happiness with me.”
Repeat these mudita phrases as many times as you need too, and perhaps watch your initial reaction shift from judgment or jealousy to happiness and appreciative joy. This practice may take a little getting used to, so if it feels like a stretch at first don’t sweat it. Even repeating these phrases once will point you in the direction of feeling better and happier.
To get your hands on a copy of the mudita mantras we practiced with above and more teachings on appreciative joy visit kindnessnowbook.com to learn more.
I hope mudita influences your happiness levels like it has mine, and what a perfect springtime practice to try on.
Amanda Gilbert is a meditation teacher, speaker, lecturer of mindfulness at the University of Southern California and author. She has been a meditator for over seventeen years and now leads meditation for top companies like NBC, Paramount Pictures, W Hotels, Merrill Lynch, Macy’s, and YouTube.