Questioner: Envy and compassion seem to be such contradictory emotions. It is easy to feel compassionate for somebody as long as they are suffering, but as soon as that turns you feel envious of the same person. What would you like to say?
Sadhguru: Envy and compassion are not connected in any way. If you are looking at compassion as sympathy or pity, then they are in some way connected, but compassion and envy – no.
Envy is when someone has something that you would like to have or something more than what you have. The fundamental nature of jealousy or envy is that you feel inadequate. If you are very blissful, you would not be envious of anyone. Envy exists because someone seems to have or you assume that they have something more than you, and you feel less than them. Envy can exist only if there is someone else better than you. If you are here by yourself, envy cannot happen.
But compassion is not like that. Compassion can happen even if there is no one here. Let us take away this understanding that compassion is some kind of sympathy or pity. Passion means total involvement with something. When you are passionately involved with something, nothing else exists for you.
Don’t think of passion as “man-woman” passion. Passion means unbridled involvement with something. It could be anything; you can sing passionately, you can dance passionately, you can do your gardening passionately, you can read a book passionately, or you can just walk passionately. It does not mean any specific activity as such, nor does it mean any particular area of life. It is just that you have deep sense of involvement.
Compassion means an all-encompassing passion. That means your passion is no longer discriminatory. Whatever is in touch with you right now, you are deeply passionate with that. Whatever it is, if you look at something, you don’t just casually looking at anything. There is nothing like casual in your life. Everything is with total passion. You breathe with passion, you walk with passion, you live with passion; your very existence is with absolute involvement with everything. This is compassion. This has got nothing to do with anyone. Even if no one was here, you can live in great compassion. But if no one is here, you cannot live enviously. You need someone to cause that for you – you need help!
Do not try to handle sympathy, compassion and all these things. Just develop unbridled passion towards everything. Do not understand passion as something that happens with a person. Understand passion as anything that is in touch with you right now. The very cloth that you wear, the very air that you breathe, the very food that you eat, the very earth that you walk upon, just practice some passion. It is horrible to tell anyone to practice passion, but please try. Just be passionate about everything. When it is unbridled, it is not entangling any more.
If this is how you see your compassion and if this is how you are, the question of sympathy or envy, will not arise.