“The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.”
― Swami Vivekananda
The word “success” is open to many interpretations. For that reason “true success” is an open door. In this quote, Vivekananda wanted to highlight one side of unselfishness which is to ask for no return when DOING “good.” For the beginner in spirituality, this quote deserves to be “practiced.” The end result being someone who is practicing something as a means to obtain something else, that is our own self gratification for we have “achieved” some sort of perceived unselfishness.
If I discover that I am selfish, then I want to be unselfish and thus, I will follow Vivekananda’s advise and “practice” not to ask for return. Now, after a few or many of those practices, I can call myself “unselfish” and “successful.” Is that so? Not a chance.
Unselfishness cannot be defined or put into a concept. Someone unselfish will not “practice” or rehearse in his mind the deed that he is to perform and the way that he will behave after the action has been completed. That is completely artificial. Also, Life may present situations when asking for a return is necessary. Life is not a static formula to be applied in all situations.
Unselfishness comes naturally when we realize that the “other” is also “me.” (See the third quote below) It is in that unity when there is no need to define “success,” for a natural act is only a reflection of who we truly ARE.
In the meantime; while that consciousness is not there in mankind, we could continue with our “practice” according to Vivekananda, and label ourselves whatever we wish. Obviously, it is better than DOING nothing.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.“
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Does it truly matter what label we think we ARE? (spiritual, bodily, astral, metaphysical, multidimensional, etc.) Paradoxically, what matters is to find out “who we ARE:” That is what we emit in Life, give in Life, for we could find out how we are contributing with Life. It is in under the observation of our relationship with other protagonists of Life, how we find who we ARE by ourselves; as long as we are aware of our thoughts, deeds and feelings. That is the most important finding beyond any sacred belief or dogma that we could ever engage in. In a nutshell, what we ARE is what we emit on a daily basis: Thoughts, words, deeds and of course, feelings. Could it be otherwise?
According to society, deeds alone will define us, but that is self deception. A “politically correct” lie to ourselves and others. A deed which is good, moral and with extensive benefit to all; comes from BEING first, which is in alignment with what we FEEL and think. That action is wholesome, honest and thus, will elevate our state of consciousness. For example, I could donate money to others. Society will praise that. I may get to be known as a ‘saint.’ However, my BEING is greedy and power hungry. I did that because I wanted a tax benefit (thoughts) and the admiration from others (feelings.) I will not follow up where those funds end up. I will not be there to give my time. Anyone can write a check if money is all they have. That dissonance between BEING, FEELING and THINKING creates an ACTION which will not be wholesome. That energy, may cause problems to others instead.
“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.“
– Black Elk
Oneness with the Universe, Life. In duality, we are individuals but also ONE unity with the Totality, therefore; omnipresent, that is ONE with all there is.
The state of consciousness of many are stuck in one side of that duality, that is individuality for their way to relate with life comes from thinking alone. Thought is divisive by nature. It likes to separate and label things. The change in consciousness comes when feelings become the new way to relate with Life. Feelings like Love, peace and happiness are not emotions. Going into the experience and understanding of that, is another notch in consciousness.
A desire, a goal, an objective will always be in the future.
Patience lives in that gap between the “now” and that future.
A desire, a goal, an objective may be attained or may not.
We could live with the belief that we will do. There is no attainment that could bring inner fulfillment.
“Success” is the word we use when we attain something.
“Failure” is the word we use when we cannot attain.
Patience is the common ground where Inner fulfillment is found.
Have you experienced what is like to patiently wait?
If you “do it right,” you will not feel the time as “wasted.”
Don’t like to wait?
Then do not have a goal, an objective, a desire to attain.
When there is no failure, there is no success; thus, patience only remains.
Wait! That is it. Wait a minute, a second… How long can you wait?
Why do we feel tired of waiting?
Because of the need to attain.
It is “bad” to have an objective or a goal?
NO! As long as you are willing to play the game. Objectives bring time, and time brings the “future,” the waiting game.
Without objectives or goals or desires, what could we DO in Life?
Easy. We could live Life.
Can we live without goals? or should we patiently wait until we can?
Patience: Hallowed be thy name…
Some individuals want to be “better” spiritually speaking.
Here some “reasons:” Because they may be causing problems to others without knowing. Because they want to be admired if they obtain some sort of sainthood. Because they are not satisfied with who they ARE.
In their minds, these individuals already have a “role model” to imitate. They have a goal to achieve through “hard work.” They are constantly comparing with others and feeling unfulfilled. There is something lacking in them, something to “improve.”
These individuals cannot realize that those pursues are simple mental abstractions and their “methodology” to reach their “goal” is plain conditioning from society’s ways.
Here is how the “system” works: If we want a “good” job with a law firm, we need to work at it. We think, once we become senior partners, we have “arrived.” We are someone in Society. “Role models.” We have a story to tell: How we went from our modest beginnings and rose to the top in no time… through hard work, dedication and discipline… Very familiar story, indeed.
That selling story is what we have been conditioned to believe as the “method” to achieve anything we want in Life.
However, BEING a fulfilled individual in Life has no relationship whatsoever with the above “method.”
“Achievements” are of no value when it comes to BEING fulfilled.
It doesn’t mean that “we shouldn’t achieve anything in Life.”
That is a gross misunderstanding, typical of individuals trapped in the mind: These individuals will go from one extreme to the other. Go ahead and “achieve” whatever you feel like, just don’t expect to feel fulfilled…
Enjoyment and fulfillment in Life are not “goals” or “achievements.”
Those are consequences of BEING harmonious in Life. There is no recipe to “achieve“ balance in Life.
You just play it by ear. What you ARE will give you a state of harmony or lack of. No way to fake it ‘til you make it….
Many would like to have an infallible recipe such as: One cup of rice, ¾ teaspoon of salt, etc. and “achieve” results without further involvement. That will not happen: In Life, we need to reinvent the wheel, for the outcome will shape who we ARE. Moreover, to reinvent the wheel is how we truly KNOW in Life. The “Office world” sells “shortcuts” so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. To save time, for “time is money.” 🙂
Basically, don’t cook. Microwave what someone else made and believe that you are a great cook…. After all it tastes good. You bought it!
Act like a saint. Copy your role model. Believe that you ARE that.
That is the conditioning that may need to go away before, Living Life in joy is entertained without the idea of “achieving” something.
It is a matter of plain OBSERVATION, AWARENESS.
When we ARE NOT AWARE of who we ARE, we need for others to tell us about ourselves. Because we cannot OBSERVE what IS inside, we need a magical dictionary word to pursue from the outside: Such a “compassion” or “peace.” Once the thing is labeled, we can “work to achieve that.” Moreover, we need to buy a “method” to be “right,” after we have carefully followed the “instructions.”
That is the state of many human beings; slaves of their own conditioning manifested through their minds.
The easiest way to decondition, is to get out from society for some time. Then with a clear mind, we could be able to recognize and OBSERVE the conditioning of our own minds. Society is not the “bad guy.” There is conditioning any time there is a group. All we have to DO is to be AWARE of that.
From that point, achievements will be achieved, without trying to achieve.
Betterment will arrive, without trying to be better.
When we cease to strive, we achieve, without the thought of achievement.
The above may not work in the “Office world,” but that “recipe” will work in Living Life in Joy.
A card is needed to play Bingo. We could say “I have chosen my card,” but we could say: “This card was given to me.” It doesn’t matter. Reality is, we have a card. Because we create the “purpose” of “winning” we create our heaven and hell at the same time. In Bingo as in Life there is nothing to reason about… But reasoning is not “bad” for we need it to be “successful” in the “office world.” A little tiny game inside the “big” game, but yet the “office world” is the most important game for conditioned minds.
That is the first lesson to learn from Life.
Once we hear the calling of “numbers” (a number and a letter) we will start playing in Life. We may think that we are smart, that we have developed a “winning strategy”; but reality is that our job is to hear and to see if we got the number in our card. That is all.
Life calls, we listen… if we are AWARE. If we are not, we miss the call.
That is the second lesson in Life.
Conditioning give us purpose. Our purpose is to win, right? To say “BINGO” out loud, so everyone can see how “successful,” we are. If Life calls for a number and we don’t have it, that means that someone else may have it. We may learn the art of waiting, to seize the opportunity, and to surrender to uncertainty if “success” is our “objective.” Stress, anxiety occurs due to self-created objectives/goals/purpose. When the “monkey mind” is, there is no enjoyment.
That is the third lesson in Life.
“Wait a minute, there. You are saying that I only have to listen to the numbers being called and match them in my card, but nothing else depends on me, correct? Nothing to DO?”
Yes, indeed. Do you like that game?
“Not really, there is not much to DO in it!”
That is what you say now because you are “reasoning”, but when you are playing Bingo, when you are in it, you truly enjoy the game: The expectation that you could be the next winner feeds you with anxiety, expectation and the setbacks of Life when your number is not called; feed you with hope and uncertainty. Are you AWARE of that duality? All because of “purpose.”
Did you win the game?
Did you get to pick your prize?
Whether we win what we want or not, we must play another game! Our “little win” became history. What matters is “now.” Are we aware of that?
Do we have the belief that BINGO is “better” after this Life? Ah! the little mind and its little hopes, looking for little saviors.
Or how about the belief that winning is EVERYTHING, and we must DO anything in our power to win… Wouldn’t that stress us out every time we play?
That is exactly how a conditioned human behaves in Life, but some call that “fun.”
“Wait a minute! Are you implying that winning/achieving is not the purpose of Life?”
Nope. I am implying that “purpose” has no meaning, when PLAYING is all there is. We may say that the purpose of Life is to play, as the mind needs a reason to live; but let me assure you this: If you have a purpose, you are not truly enjoying the game. Have you noticed that?
Nevertheless, many may play the game of giving a meaning to Life.
Have we played the game of Philosophy? Religion? Doctrines? Beliefs?
It is pretty neat! Every game we play “successfully,” will allow us to “improve” and go to the next “level.” That is the ego trip… but for Life, all of those things are just human “mental” games inside the “big game” of Bingo.
Play the game. Enjoy it for what it is, a GAME. Liberate yourself by placing your made up purpose/meaning aside. Life is good as it is!
“What is the purpose of adding a purpose?”
To purposely live in the mind! 🙂
What we have learned about Life through our society, religions, moral systems etc. is a way to look at Life, a way to respond to it, a way to deal with it.
When we label that perspective as “right,” “true,” “moral,” etc. we automatically close our doors to perceive Life from a different, more extensive way.
“Spirituality” is Life itself. It teaches us to open up, to expand our horizons.
Through conditioning, we learn to perceive Life in a particular way, according to the values of our society. In our society at this time, we perceive Life from a conceptual way; the mind has great importance. For example, let me go into the concepts of “success and failure.”
What is to be “successful” in Life?
Even though everyone may have their own definition; there is a concept lingering in the air which most are able to pick up: A wealthy person is successful.
That is the idea sold to the masses.
Do we see that “success” in Life truly does not exist for it cannot be limited to just one aspect of Life, to one perspective?
If we don’t see it that is fine; for we will invent “failure” to help us look at it.
What is the consequence of that invention?
Individuals wanting to achieve “success,” but are fearful of “failure.”
Those individuals will need a “coach” to inspire them to “succeed.”
What is the inspiration?
It is alright to fail. “Success” is the outcome of many “failures.”
That permission to “fail” is the origin of many “best sellers” in a society obsessed with success.
Fear is minimized. It is OK to fail, for I will be closer to succeeding…
Do you see why I say that we live in our mind?
That one who is not concerned with success will not know about failure.
“But that is boring!!”
That is why you may need to play with a couple of toys to make your life exciting. Here is Gruffalo “Success” and Katerina Kittycat “Failure.”
Do we see how we stress our Life? We don’t play with those concepts. We take it seriously as if our Life depended on those toys.
Is our desire for success the cause of our unhappiness?
A shallow answer is “yes.” That is why, “no desires” was invented as a nemesis toy. By the way, that game sold many books while “helping others.”
Observe the game. Observe how the mind creates the rules, the players and the labels.
How do you enjoy a game?
When you know, when you are AWARE that you are playing.
Life is a game. We may find out that any way we look at it, any perspective we may take has meaning only if we get a good laugh at it. 🙂
The other day I purchased a bed linen. The Company selling it had an unusual ad: “It is said that Webster’s first dictionary in 1806 defined success as being “generous, prosperous and kind” Regrettably, the most recent published definition of success is “getting or achieving wealth, respect and fame.” We do business based on the 1806 definition.”
Observe how the meaning of words change in time. 200 years later, that same word means something completely different, thus a definition will change in “no time” in time. 🙂
Take the word “god” for example. Isn’t the definition of that word different among people? Who has the “right” definition?
The word “success” is a human invention. Our society has bought into it. To be successful is the objective, the thing to attain; although it is not clear what it means.
How wealthy is wealthy? How famous is fame? Isn’t respect nowadays another word for inspiring fear? Who is the authority to define what something is?
The guy down the street wants “respect,” and he earns it through his ability to inspire fear into his neighbors.
Being “generous, prosperous and kind” is not a corporate attitude or behavior towards business. We cannot make ourselves generous or kind through a corporate mission statement. We ARE or we ARE not. If we behave as if we were kind, generous, etc. from 8 Am to 5 PM, Monday through Friday… We ARE fake.
Words meaning absolutely nothing. Pretty, touchy words, no feelings. All mind, no heart.
That is the same scenario when most talk about love and loving someone. There is the blurb, the political correct phrases, the catchy words, but nothing else.
Love is not something to talk about. Words destroy the sacredness of the moment, the relationship, what it could be… the feeling.
Therefore, “Being successful,” means anything that you desire.
Achieving that, means very little unless there is an agreement that it is worth something.
For mice, to be “successful” could be to get cheese from a human refrigerator. But mice are “intelligent” enough not to worry about success.
Being successful is taken to extremes in our society. For instance:
What is so important about a football game or a “world cup” soccer game?
Nothing…. It is just a game. But yet there is a common agreement that this game could be in fact a “historic moment.” Everyone is watching it. It is transcendent… It is team A versus team B. The “World champ” (yet another pretty word meaning nothing) will victoriously emerge from that “duel of nemesis…”
That is the human world of fantasy. Something to pass time with, to keep the mind entertained until death arrives… Then success is over; then there is only “losing the battle” against cancer, drunk drivers, medical doctors, and all excuses death may use to “take us away from our loved ones.” 🙂
All the winning, all the success gets taken away by Death; then under that cloudy perspective; we become automatic “losers.” We believe that… unless there is an “afterlife,” then the “I” could be “successful” there…
As our minds step away from words, the meaning of living Life in the innocence of an empty mind, will replace the meaning of the words.
Every Life story from the “lowly” untouchable mosquito to the immortal Sam the true “man,” is neither a success nor a failure.
In Life no one could be a success nor a failure but only in the “fantasy island” of the conditioned human mind, that is the mind full of duality.
Remember: What someone says it is not accurately what they mean or feel. It cannot be.
Beware of words.
Thank you for voicing your feelings!
It appears to me that you are beginning this path by the way you express yourself and for what you are experiencing. If that is so, let me tell you that it is “normal” what you are experiencing. 🙂
If you have been many years in Gyan and you are still experiencing the above, then there is something that needs to change and that change will only happen when you realize what it is.
Usually, and by the way you express yourself, it is something about ego… it is the same “ego” issue at the beginning of our BK career and at the end of it, just the subtlety varies…until is gone…
Life has different ways to allow us to diminish that “ego,” as a matter of fact; your own suffering now is a way to “burn” that heavy ego away.
We suffer because there is ego. Greater ego means a greater experience of suffering is needed when “working on it.”
Dear soul, stop working “so hard.” Stop trying. Just sit down, relax and see that everything is falling apart around you, but not “you”… unless you want to think that. So, just smile and let life take everything away from you.. 🙂 Become free from all of that known “success.”
If you resist the situation that you are living by opposing to it through thoughts like: “This shouldn’t be happening to me” or “I was very successful and now I am not. I need to do something about it” all what you are doing is prolonging the situation, for life will not change unless you are ready.
Accept what is happening, surrender that ego who wants to fight and let the magic begin. All you need to do is to let life burn that ego away. Keep your “code of conduct” with you if to reach your highest self in this life is what you would like to reach as a BK, “buckle up” and go for the ride without looking back.
Just FYI. I have been there, learned what I just shared after many years of “complaining,” and now I am glad not to be “in the loop of success for “normal” people” anymore. So, life gave me a T-shirt: “Proud to be a failure.”
Freedom from every known thing is invaluable… even from failure.