I am still reading, from time to time, the book of the diary of Sophia Tolstoy. Here I just want to pick out one theme from the many: jealousy. Sophia and her husband had a difficult marriage. The relationship was often stormy even though at times they seemed quite dedicated to each other. For a lot of years, Sophia was, in fact, in love with somebody else, the composer Taneev. She never committed adultery but she met him often and enjoyed a lot of time with him. She became very interested in music at this time and would spend hours playing. Lev Tolstoy was jealous and often angry with her for seeing Taneev, and the music playing probably drove him wild as well. She regarded his objections as preposterous. Since she was not actually being adulterous, why all the fuss? However, later, he fell in love with a man, Chertkov. At this, Sophia (whose feelings for Taneev had now waned) became insanely jealous. There were terrible scenes and arguments. She hated this man intensely and the relationship with Lev suffered severely. At no point, as far as I have read so far, does she draw any parallel between her own actions with Taneev and his with Chertkov. The turmoil that this caused in the family was enormous, with, broadly speaking, the girls taking the father's side and the boys their mother's.
All this makes me reflect upon what a dreadful passion jealousy can be. People who suppose that they love one another can tear each other to pieces over it. It drove Sophia to thoughts of suicide as well as extremely fierce conflicts with her spouse. All this is, no doubt, rooted in deeply ingrained instincts. I myself have fortunately only experienced jealousy of this type on a very few occasions, now long into my past, but I know well even from those occasions, how compelling and impossible to control the feelings become. It is also very difficult being on the receiving end of such feelings projected at one by another person. I have known couples in which one party was obsessionally jealous of the other, endlessly suspecting infidelities when none existed. This is a particularly difficult syndrome that can also destroy a relationship completely, or can lead to a situation of isolated co-dependence in which neither party can have any life outside of the couple.
Reading the diary stimulates much thought since both Sophia and Lev are strong, outspoken characters with very different yet coherent principles. A passionate, tumultuous relationship that was both creative and destructive.
Hello, David, and greetings from Madrid.
In my opinion, jealousy is not love, but possession, as we learn by Dharma and life. I'm very fortunate (I might done something very good in a previous life) to share my life with Ana, my wife, who among other virtues, is not jealous. But I am, I'm afraid. Now, as I'm coming closer to my forties, less jealous than before, true. But nevertheless, I am.
This is one paramount point since I've started my Dharma practice, something which I'm recurrently worried about. I use to say to myself: "Hey buddy (well, my inner voice speaks Spanish, but you get the point), how can you be so jealous? You're suppose to be a Buddhist!" I guess that kind of mistake is very common in us, as practitioner, mostly at the beginning of our path. We use to mix concepts, and we think that to be a Buddhist (whatever means that) is like a magical remedy to all our maladies. So, no more jealousy, mourning, etc. Now, since I started to accept myself as I am, I create less suffering around me. And I dare say that it is because (among other factors) of the Amida path, which i'm starting to feel as the most indicated for a blind, egocentric, jealous, weak and lazy grown-up kid like me. It is great to know that even damaged goods as I have a place in Dharma!
Namu Amida Bu
Thanks for sharing that, Caytano. Somos todos dañados y es por nosotros que llegar los budas. Jealousy is a primitive emotion, but we all can fall prey to it.
Thanks for the answer, David. Good to read you Spanish. En mi experiencia, no es tan común que alguien de Inglaterra hable español.
Namo Amida Bu
Gracias. He aprendido un poco en mis visitas a España.
Por supuesto, se dice q a la gente latina los celos son mas intensos q entre los anglosajones pero probablemente es simplemente un diferencia de estilo de expresión. Somos todos los mismos bombu.
Estoy de acuerdo, aunque quizá los latinos seamos un poco más intensos para todo, tanto para amar como para odiar :) Pero, efectivamente, no creo que se pueda (ni deba) generalizar. Bombu es igual para todos
Sí, hay muchas maneras estar bombu :-)