Written by Stephanie Krubsack, Emily Porter, Bethany Lato, Co-Founders at Mudita Magazine
Originating from the Sanskrit and Pali languages, mudita has no literal translation into English, but can be roughly equivalent to finding joy in the happiness of others. Deeply embedded within eastern religious traditions and a foundational belief in many yogic communities, mudita invites all to look beyond themselves and their own immediate happiness, drawing one’s own happiness from the witness of another’s joy. It encourages us to look beyond our immediate state of being beyond any suffering, pain, fear, or loss, toward the deeper sense of joy that exists throughout all people. To truly live in mudita, there are several methods to incorporate wellness into your own life, educate others, and build connections within your community.
Yoga & Movement
Bringing movement into the body silences the mind creating an overall balance while reducing stress and tension within the body. Yoga is at the heart of what we do everyday, whether that be in moving through a yoga flow, taking care of the Earth with sustainability, or being kind to those around us. It starts with healing the body, your body, by stretching, flowing, finding herbs that sustain balance and practices that bring happiness during dark times. In order to do good in the world, one must start with the self. Are you doing tasks that make you feel good? Are you eating healthy and bringing exercise into your weekly routine? Small rituals that honor the vessel that allows you to walk this Earth makes such a huge difference in your day-to-day. Overall wellness starts within and only then can radiate out into your community and to those around you.
Healthy Food & Community
Metta in Sanskrit means caring for the wellbeing of others and metta + joy = mudita. When caring for others, food is a common means to share and build community. By sharing healthy recipes and dishes with those around you, it creates a way to live within mudita. Even further, sharing cultural recipes from around the world allows anyone to have a taste of a new country and glimpse at those traditions. Preparing and altering select dishes for individuals with allergies or health concerns strengthens the bond between community and a healthy lifestyle. Physical and mental wellness are both important components of overall health, and using food as medicine is a means to do so. Trying to sneak in more vegetables or finding healthy substitutions for your favorite recipes is a great way to instill a bit of wellness into the daily lives of those you care about. Sharing a meal made from the heart and your kitchen, provides a way to selflessly give, share, and bring people together. What you put into your body also has an impact on your mental state, as wellness is all-encompassing.
Our emotional and mental states have the ability to either make one feel connected to others through common emotions or to create a sense of distance and deep loneliness in the soul. Nearly all humans have this experience, the shared sense of joy, grief, or anger; as well as the feelings of isolation that may come from a more personal loss, depression, or anxiety. As mudita is communal and by its very definition relies on others beyond the self to find deep and lasting joy, it must be intrinsically connected to how we approach our emotional and mental health.
As the nature of depression, anxiety, trauma, loss, and many other emotional and mental struggles is rooted in isolation and loneliness, the antidote is community. The medicine is mudita. The healing journey is not one to navigate alone, as it relies on the aid and support of others. Through shared experiences, the support of loved ones and help from mental health professionals allows joy to be found in even the darkest of places. The journey to holistic wellness and wholeness is eased as others walk alongside us, in both the darkest days and on those days that the sun begins to shine through again.
The practice of living in mudita invites everyone to look beyond themselves, to show up for others, and find ways to give back. It is important to recapture your inner joy to fulfill your inner self by helping others. A small act of kindness or compassion, awareness of the greater good, or practice of wellness or sustainability, acts like the sequence of a yoga flow that keeps extending into the community and ultimately circles back to you.