The Long, Short Way to Letting Go of Grudges & Jealousy

A story is told in the Talmud of a young boy who met a wise sage at a crossroads and offered him help in getting to the large city that lay "just yonder". In fact, it was visible from where they stood. "Well, there's a long short way, and a short long way," the child advised, and wise man chose the short long way, because who wouldn't? Well, turns out that way was overgrown and covered in weeds and thorns, and up a steep incline. It would have taken hours to traverse what was actually quite short in distance, so the Sage turned back and found the child, once again at the crossroads, grinning widely. "Now are you ready for the long short way?" he asked, and so they travelled together along the winding road, long in distance but smooth and simple to travel, until they reached the city.

This same story is used to describe the path to wisdom and enlightenment of "doing the work" without searching for quick fixes, which might appear a short distance from the answer but require monumental feats to arrive at the destination. The long short road, on the other hand, takes time but will have you arrive safe and sound.

When it comes to letting go of grudges, jealousy and all the other poisonous pieces that mar our relationships with another, it's never as simple as a short long road. Sometimes we try to let go, "Let go, let go!" we cry. But if you're pushing it away, you haven't actually let it go.

"Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die", goes the oft-quoted, questionably-attributed adage, that reminds us of how seriously, if we just let go of everything we'd be fine. But urghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh how to do that? No really, how?

Well, as with most spiritual work, I often notice that the trick is in the opposites. if you want to attract that vibration, make it happen yourself. So I'm wondering: Is my answer to letting go of a grudge, of vengeance, to visit precisely what I wish had been done to me, to the perpetrator of the injustice? If they mistreated me, can I take my vengeance by treating them better? If I'm jealous of them, can I be happy for their abundance instead of annoyed at their success?

It's not easy, but it is a long short way. Sitting and staring into the mirror trying to force yourself to let it go might seem short, but it's a long way.

Working through every emotion, every negative feeling, every jealous moment and every vengeful instinct to bless your enemy for their abundance - it might take some time, but chances are you'll get there.

Of course, half the time these people aren't even our enemies. They're our dearest, closest friends. They're people we love, respect and wish all the best for. That is, until they see the success we've been working towards long before we do. Or when they betray us without apology and we're convinced we'll never work with them again.

So can we take that poison, and magick it into nectar?

Can every jealous feeling become a matter of appreciation for the abundance in the world, and a prayer that we receive the same, soon, too?

Can every feeling of frustrated annoyance and desire for revenge, that "you-didn't-do-it-for-me-so-I-won't-do-it-for-you" become one of gratitude and blessing, "I'll-do-it-for-you-anyway", without the poisonous barb thrown in, "I'm showing you how it's done because you can't do it right". (In the Torah, the law against revenge and grudge bearing is delineated by these two scenarios. The first, revenge, is marked as "I won't loan you my hammer because you didn't loan it to me yesterday." The second, grudge-bearing, is an ongoing, "I'm loaning you my hammer unlike you that one time you didn't loan me the hammer, see, see!"). Can we take it from, "I'm one-upping you" to "I genuinely want us all to be good humans to each other, and even if you weren't that one time, please, let's get past it?"

The only thing we can do is do it.