Last night I helped create an altar for an Interfaith gathering on the theme of sympathetic joy. I forgot my camera, but someone let me use their cellphone to take a couple of photos.
Sympathetic joy is celebrated by Buddhists, and means rejoicing in the happiness of others. The Buddha referred to sympathetic joy as ‘the mind deliverance of gladness.’
My role in the service was to do an invocation to the 4 elements of life: earth, fire, air and water.
There is so much joy expressed in nature at present. These are the native renga renga lilies which grow well on rocks and banks and are now flowering along the coastline.
Hilary, the ordained interfaith minister, who gave a beautiful talk at the service, told stories of sympathetic joy. One of them was about the astounding moment in a concert by Paul Simon earlier this year.
After Paul Simon announced that he was going to play ‘Duncan’, a fan called out from the audience, ‘I learned to play guitar on that song’.
Then, to everyone’s amazement, Paul Simon called her up on stage.
Despite her reluctance, he kept calling her up, then handed her his guitar and invited her to sing. His whole face and body were radiant with sympathetic joy as he watched over her, encouraging her every step of the way. I’ve just watched the youtube clip and it’s had me in tears.
Here’s the link for you. I wish you many moments of expansion this week, as you rejoice in the good fortune of others.