Desire is at the heart of our very being. Whether it is for love, money, land or possessions, we all want more than we currently have. This can applies to both personal and professional circumstances and is prevalent across the globe.
There is a word for this feeling: Envy.
There are some very valid reasons why this insidious emotion is one of the seven deadly sins.
Not only does it undermine a person’s very contentment, raising questions about justice and the futility of being, it also embroils two of the other deadly sins, greed and lust.
If we are to believe as many faiths preach, that we are born free from sin, when is it that we begin to covet other people’s possessions? At what point do our eyes turn green and long for more?
In our formative years when we have very little in the way of choice, we are easily pleased. For those things that we are given we are, overall, contented.
It is only when we move on to school and mix with other children that we become fascinated with other people’s traits, their attitudes and their possessions.
In most people, envy remains no more than an itch that flares up only when they see others with something that is, at that moment, unattainable to them.
Others who permit this emotion to override many of their other senses never stop craving those things, which they do not own, or abilities they do not possess.
In its most subtle of manifestations, this may amount to nothing greater than solicitous thoughts or petty thieving. If it is taken to its extreme, however, you only have to look at the history books to see how many times wars have been fought over some monarchs envy and desire for more than what he or she currently holds. Wars have been fought because kingdoms, and later on, nations seek to acquire greater prestige, power and resources than they currently enjoy. Wars have been fought over land and the geographical, political and financial advantages that incorporating them from the vanquished would bring.
If Envy is such a Deadly Sin, how can we combat it, especially as it appears to be a common human trait?
One possible answer lies in the teachings of The East.
It is they who first taught that this sin takes its roots in our own dissatisfaction. With our minds concentrated on hankering after things we may never possess, we are distracted from looking at our own selves and seeing the value of what lies within. They teach us to take account of the things that we do have and be grateful for those. Not just materialistic possessions but those concerning emotional and spiritual matters as well.
Therefore, if you feel envy about to cloud your judgment, clear your mind, locate the inner sanctum housing your true heart and seek what is really worth possessing: self-contentment.