We all want it, but it keeps changing. Once we get it, it pops up again in another form, down the road, waiting. More than just a concept, it becomes one’s measure and life’s purpose. Did I achieve it this year? Will I do it the next? If I do not will I have any worth?
Oh the fuss over just a word: Success. We can be it countless times a day or never… depending upon what we believe it is.
Observing the end of the year discussions followed by the resolutions, I started writing this article with a question in mind… what is success. Deep inside we know, most of us, that it’s a ‘wild goose chase’, an ego attachment… applied from the outside and accepted on the inside as a judgment of sorts.
Underline: Visualize the moment when we leave 3-D… the life review. There is NO judgment in Spirit: every single human experience, conscious or not, is success.
And yet, there is plenty of good to be found in contemplation and new resolutions. The process of review can be akin to prayer in the heart… re-commitment to the way of Spirit.
Let’s say goodbye to the word success, with all of its ego aggrandizement or pain and self-loathing. If I may, we can begin our contemplation with three words: depth, substance, authenticity.
Our Spirit journey knows no time, but one can say our 3-D journey does. We come here for a few brief years to learn ‘human’. There are some questions we can ask in our human school. Have we realized the underlying truth about ourselves? Have we liberated ourselves from ignorance or illusion? Have we become the divinity that we are… pulling ourselves together into one true self… an authentic human?
Although our evolution is as an individual, it is the reality perceived as ‘outside of self’ that we evolve within. This is our impetus. We need the friction, the pressures, the self exposure and the grace of experience. We evolve through love, and where do we experience this but within self and in our relationships with other humans. We refine through truth, and where do we experience this but in the practice of speaking it and the direct experience of it as information.
Depth, substance, authenticity – how are these things gained? I wouldn’t say pray for a ‘hard knocks’ transformational experience, although that is certainly one way to deepen and enrich the spirit. I’ve certainly taken my own jarring knocks… seemingly not chosen, but then again, who knows?
Example: If compassion for those who experience hardship, sickness or poverty is absent in a person, we can imagine how ‘hard knocks’ could school the person in compassion. By unfortunate circumstance, they could become one of the fallen down, broken, sick and poor: locked within the experience and met with the challenge of extending compassion to themselves, their heart warms toward all. From that depth of experience, empathy is born.
What a profound lesson – one we would be loathe to ask for; and one we would certainly work to avoid if we knew it was waiting in the classroom across the hall.
Without having to experience the ‘hard knocks’, life does deliver plenty of friction, pressure, and difficult circumstances. It’s the manner in which we face and respond to life’s challenges, that creates within us the depth and endurance of an authentic human.
Shallow or deep: if we’re on the spiritual path we have already chosen deep. We do know better than to run away, blame others, whine and plead to the sky or berate self. We dig in.
Our options: forgo the emotional reactions and the ego’s opinion of what should or shouldn’t be; raise our own energy; observe our inner dialogue and accept ourselves in all our aspects, including those aspects we thought were ‘beneath’ us; face the difficulties with ‘heart’ and see what the outcome might be. Trust: there is a flow of Grace through all things.
Now let’s move on to substance. What is the substance of an authentic human? If we look upon life as a spiritual experience, and ourselves as spiritual energy, then our substance is our energy in its connection to the divine… the aspiration to be ‘same as’. It is personal, powerful, silent and sacred. You’ve heard the saying, “The empty wagon rattles loudest?” Substance cannot help but be the opposite.
The love, respect, empathy, virtue, truth and wisdom that we are able to ‘be’ in our lives… these are the manifestations of substance.
We recognize a substantial human: the spiritual masters of the past, the great teachers and metaphysicians who are with us now… we can feel them from near or far. And for the ones who have transitioned, we only need to remember the substance of them and we can feel them again.
As we contemplate our position at the beginning of a new year, ‘success’ pales in the face of dedication to the way of the Spirit. We’re doing something new here; something as brave as ‘create your own classroom’ evolution can make your knees knock a bit.
We’re a courageous lot, each one with his or her own light source. For now we are individual humans becoming or being authentic; evolving, intending, imagining, serving. Individuals yes… and yet together we are forming the bedrock of a courageous new world; one that may shine into view in the years to come, if we make it so.