Mudita is the third brahma-vihara (the four perfect virtues). It is about cultivating sympathetic or appreciative joy for another. Sometimes when we hear of another’s good fortune we feel resentful or jealous. Perhaps we feel they are undeserving, or we may have an unconscious fear that their success means that we will not succeed. Our competitive society teaches us that there is not enough for everyone; that we must step on others in order to reach the “top”. This develops in us a fear of not being good enough ourselves which in turn inhibits us from feeling joy for others. It is much easier to commiserate with another’s pain, to feel compassion for someone going through hard times because then we do not feel alone in our suffering. Practicing mudita for someone we do not appreciate is impossible. In a situation like this we must practice metta, loving kindness, to begin to see the inherent good in everyone, so that we may develop this ability to feel unselfish joy for everyone’s good fortune. In developing unselfish joy in this way, we dissolve envy, cold-heartedness, jealousy and other such feelings.
To practice Mudita meditation, repeat the following phrases:
May your happiness and joy continue
May your happiness not leave you
May your happiness continue to grow
Just like with Metta meditation, begin with someone you care about. Next practice this meditation for someone for whom you have neutral feelings. Then, send this meditation to someone who is more difficult. End with the desire that all beings feel happiness and joy. As you practice feeling joy for another, regardless of your own circumstances, you will be able to find more joy for yourself.