So, as you may know, I have been working on a ‘Keeping it 100 Project’ wherein I am trying to be more open about my life and practice these past few months – um, years! – and I’m pleased to say that it’s been going well enough.
And just as it had been with my ‘joy project’ – the world will open up to receive your joy – I have realized that people have been nothing but encouraging and supportive of me in this one of my latest endeavors.
As well, I’ve learned that I’ve nothing to lose except my fears.
This is not to say that I’ve become entirely fearless as of yet, but I am making great strides in letting go of some pretty heavy baggage associated with some of my most deeply embedded personal issues.
So, the other night, I was talking with a close friend of mine about the latest developments in my life and the positive changes that I have seen in my relationships.
Then we got to discussing some of the similarities inherent in our spiritual experiences, and she was expressing her wonder and joy at how nice it was to *finally* have someone (as well as several other people) with whom she can share her experiences. Folks who would listen with an open mind, without judgment or rancor towards her struggles and who could celebrate the successes of walking her path.
Our paths are similar enough but rather than feeling a sense of competition or comparison with me or with others, she was casting about for a word to describe the supportive and encouraging sense of being accepted, supported and celebrated that she had been experiencing lately, that sense of flow between her and the members of her kindred.
She was saying that she finally felt that she’d found the members of her tribe.
And she felt the relief of finally being able to say
So I was telling her about a conceptual term that I had first learned of through polyamory(1) – and that is the concept of compersion.
Compersion can simply be defined as when you experience happiness when you witness another’s happiness.
While the term ‘compersion’ was originally meant to apply to situations associated exclusively with romantic relationships, in some cases, I think that sense of such deeply felt goodwill and supportive encouragement can also be applied to other relationships.
Why should compersion only be felt between lovers?
Why couldn’t such a profound sense of joy be mirrored between those within close friendships and even alliances between co-workers?
Compersion is not just superficial good wishes towards another’s success – it is a profoundly experienced sense of joy and contentment that is felt in tandem with another’s joy.
Compersion is a magnification of joy that flows outward.
Compersion is, in a lot of ways, the polar opposite of jealousy.
So we are feeling compersion when we bear witness to another’s joy, and we feel joy in response.
So that’s what I’m calling it from now on.
- pol·y·am·o·ry: noun; the philosophy or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time.