If we desire a happy life it is vital to define and continually redefine what success means to us. Otherwise we may feel very much as if we have failed.
There is a huge difference in what the world calls success, and living from our authenticity.
Worldly, outer success, measuring up to the expectations of others can easily become an obsession, for we so much want approval from others.
Our striving to become “somebody” and/or acquire what our culture tells us important can drive us and cause pain and sadness.
There is always another expectation to be met, leaving us feeling anxious, afraid we will fail.
Wanting anything very badly, including success, makes us think the present moment is not good enough. And this is suffering!
If we can’t be happy now, when can we?
Too much intensity for anything becomes a curse.
Wanting to be someone “special” is a deep conditioning within most of us. It is natural to desire recognition and validation, but the way we set out to achieve this may be self-defeating.
The truth is that we already are special, just because we are a human being. Waiting for someone to confer our uniqueness and beauty upon us leads to addiction, self-alienation and a continual fear of failing.
The love and acceptance we need must come from ourselves first.
Real success comes as we make the commitment to develop a loving relationship with ourselves, to pay attention to what our mind is doing and what is happening within our bodies and how we feel inside as we interact with others.
This is achieved through the path of mindfulness.
What we don’t usually understand is that we already are that which we seek and desire—the Essence within us is totally lovable. We just need to connect with our own beingness, instead of spending our time and energy trying to get something from the world, or striving to reach goals.
No amount of getting either love or success will be enough for the mind that doesn’t know its true nature.
Our True Essence cannot be acquired. It’s already within us. It can only be humbly accepted by recognizing the mind that wants, wants and wants is not our true nature, and we must let that mind go.
Wise love knows this mind really only wants one thing—the love and acknowledgment that can only come from ourselves. It understands when we are in the state of wanting we are coming from fear.
Wise love investigates and asks, “What are you afraid of? I’m here for you. Let’s just settle down and feel the love that is flowing between us. It’s enough.”
My experience is that the love I give the child within me at any moment is enough.
I don’t need to grasp for anything that doesn’t come freely to me. I can wait in mindful awareness. The mad pursuit for anything just drags me down.
The paradoxical nature of things is that we are spiritual beings, living a human existence.
We live in two worlds, but we need to establish which one comes first, inner joy and freedom, or outer, worldly success?
And which world do we push aside when not convenient?
How often are we too busy or distracted to meditate and develop mindfulness?
Or is our to-do list the one that gets our attention? Which world do we feverishly follow, salivating at the thought that we will be OK when we accomplish this or that?
And all too soon we find either the joy of the chase doesn’t last or that our desires remains beyond our reach, and dissatisfaction and sadness sets in.
Only one star can be our North Star.
We will only break in the middle by trying to follow two directions.
“You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong.”
Where is your compass pointed?
How do you see life? Is it something to gain and achieve—in which you accumulate assets, gain popularity, support and followers?
Or are you living for the purpose of giving something to this moment that will bring happiness and relieve suffering?
After many years of determinedly setting specific goals, I found they didn’t bring happiness or a sense of freedom.
I mistakenly thought I was a goal striving being, rather than a giver of openhearted love and attention to each moment of life.
Generosity and open hearted attention to the moment brings freedom.
“As we give, we receive,” as Jesus has taught.
I learned that the world does not give us security.
I have plans and I head toward them. I am an intentional being, but my intention is to be aware of what my mind and body are doing, rather than in the accomplishment of goals.
By paying attention to my body I can feel when I’m being driven by wants and goals. I feel rushed, uptight and tense.
This tells me I am off course. This is the road to overwhelm, depression and angst.
When I can just sit with my feelings and emotions, no matter how disturbing they may be, and hold the little child inside me, attending to her needs, I have had a moment of success!
When I take care of myself no one has to pick up the pieces, for lovingkindness soothes the wounded and doesn’t blame.
The world doesn’t validate these small unnoticed moments that change the course of my life.
I won’t receive plaques or awards, or even a pat on the back from others as I do this holy work.
But the child within me feels much safer just because she knows there is always someone with her who cares.
This is success to me.