I was discussing schadenfreude with Quincy J. Allen this evening, and while looking up the precise definition (satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.), I found a reference to its opposite:
Muditā (Pāli and Sanskrit: मुदिता) in Buddhism is joy. It is especially sympathetic or vicarious joy, the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being rather than begrudging it.
I was a rather lonely and insecure child, occasionally jealous of my schoolmates’ expensive toys and clothes. But life taught me to revel in the joy of others. Christmas is like that for me. It’s not about spending exorbitant amounts of money, meeting expectations, or “topping” anyone else’s gift ideas. It’s about the wonderful delight I get to see in people’s faces when something touches their hearts. My dearest grandmother once told me, “God is the lump in your throat, when something makes you so happy you cry.”
The picture below is one of of those moments. At MileHi con last year, Quincy got to meet Steven Brust, one of his favorite authors and a charming man. I’m a huge fan of Brust’s work myself, but Q’s delight at the event was infectious to all of us who were with him.
This is just a reminder to see the joy all around you. Even in hard times, celebrating someone else’s delights can lift us up and remind us what makes life worth living.