Gladness              (mental element 48, Gl)

By removing jealousy and envy, gladness makes it possible for us to see and appreciate other people’s successes. You can test the power of gladness by arousing it whenever you sense aversion or envy towards anybody. If you arouse gladness while dealing with highly successful friends, family members, or competitors, you begin to appreciate their successes. This results in pleasantness and happiness because gladness does not allow feelings of envy or aversion to take hold. Instead, gladness permeates consciousness with appreciative joy and makes us feel good.

You can also use the power of gladness to deal with boredom or aversion (which is subtle and hard to detect), which can arise when dealing with other people’s successes or otherwise. By contemplating the successes of all the people you can think of, you can quickly get rid of boredom or aversion.

Gladness should not be misunderstood as that which simply generates cheerfulness without the removal of aversion. The divine quality of gladness is deep and exquisite, which will become evident if you practice gladness meditations that are discussed in later chapters.

Compassion generally arises out of seeing others’ suffering. Gladness generally arises out of appreciating others’ successes. These two elements cannot arise at the same time. You either experience compassion or gladness. Therefore, when we are dealing with enemies and unknown people, we should arouse compassion leading to equanimity. When we are dealing with friends and family, we should arouse loving-kindness and gladness. In between, we should skillfully combine loving-kindness and compassion as we discussed earlier. This is the exquisite way of dealing with others, developing love, and becoming divine here and now.