Our Relationship With Success

     Success in life is the
gold ring for which everyone reaches, visible from our perch on life’s merry-go-round. Most goals of life are not as clearly defined as this one.  From birth we are thoroughly trained and conditioned for this achievement by our parents and the established values within our social environment.  Even criminal minds are rooted in the success that they will not be caught. Being the best at what we do assures us that we will be surrounded by all the symbols of validation and victory.  We will be in demand.  Others will defer to our expertise.  Our voice will be listened to.  We inspire ourselves to reach even more lofty heights.  Yet there may linger in some of our minds a teaching from Jesus, “What good is it for a person to inherit the entire world if during the process they lose his or her soul?  Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be given to you.”

     History reminds us that everyone from clergy to Hollywood stars line the runways of the airport of success with the wreckage of their lives because they could not handle being on Mt. Olympus.  Every profession experiences people seated at the roundtable who have chosen to kneel before the altar of indulgences.  Lincoln once wrote, “Anyone can withstand adversity. If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”  The quote that may be more suitable for this discussion is, “Happiness and joy are found along the way and not at the end of the road.”

     The greatest of all illusions: People living in abject poverty can spend their lives desiring what others have, easily defining themselves by their longing.  As with all things, the results of poverty and its environment are neutral until the one experiencing them supplies a meaning.  There are numerous stories about harmonious communities in Appalachia that became polarized once Social Services arrived with their relief efforts Material success may inspire similar defining thought patterns causing us to lose perspective about the essentials of life.  When people take themselves too seriously often they become seduced by the power and creature comforts produced by wealth, success and attractiveness. When such attributes become the defining aspect of life, the intoxication of applause and fame feed an appetite they have slowly created.

     Spirituality offers a framework: The study of spirituality encourages us to remain balanced.  Humility comes when we remember that we are mortals who were either at the right place at the right time or who learned to access and use what was within our seed.  Yet there is a third thought pattern – we have incarnated to experience precisely what has come up for us.  When we reframe life through this perception, our success will not cause us to assume “we are good, special, lucky or blessed.”  Rather we assume that each experience now becomes our responsibility to manage well.  Within each scene of our drama of success, decisions will need to be made about the quality of the identity.  Do we flaunt our power or remain kind to those beneath us on the personnel food chain?  Do we mentor others or hold ourselves aloof with expectations of how others should treat us.  Remember, Henry Ford seldom ate in the executive dining room.  He ate with his workers and thus learned from them how to improve the products of his company.  He knew he did not own the corner where new ideas are born.

     We are in training: Folly will follow those who lose this orientation.  Success brings its own private lessons to learn, lessons that are not available from any other platform.  Our task is to master them without becoming lost.   Success is simply another objective genre.  In the business sector, this frame of reference helps us keep our business plan focused on our primary mission – our clients or our customer base.  Our business is to serve the public’s need at the most affordable price.  The power of our radiating energy patterns will have the same impact as Jesus being the head of the Church.  We have the opportunity to inspire loyalty and enthusiasm or dissent and division.  We can become a team player or carry ourselves with presumed authority.  The disciples once argued among themselves over which one was the greatest.  Jesus reminded them that the greatest one among them would be the servant of all.  This primary objective when followed will serve us well.

     Getting ourselves off the stage: Our challenge is to keep our focus on “we” not “me.”  This prevents us from personalizing our success story.  This prevents us from being held prisoner by delusions of grandeur.  This prevents us from being attracted to what is not essential.  An entirely different set of temptations comes to those who have the power to obtain whatever they want.  As a result, life is difficult for the rich, powerful and famous if their identities are not grounded.  Their lessons are just as important to learn as are those that come to people who have nothing.   Each student has the same curriculum – successfully negotiate what is in front of you because the moment will come when you will leave the classroom setting behind.  The moment we interpret our experiences on earth as anything more than this, we lose perspective.  Once awakened, Jesus did not lose his orientation.  He wrote nothing and remained steadfast to his perceived purpose of radiating loving energy even while hanging from a cross.  He completely surrendered his life and teachings to the perceptions of those who would follow.  He had to trust that some of his seeds would fall on fertile ground.

     Our remembrance that we are vehicles: Success has very little to do with our earthly accomplishments but with the skills of spirit we develop and express along the way.  As Randy Travis once sang, “It’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it’s what you leave behind you when you go.”  The biblical writers verbally expressed themselves long before Gutenberg’s printing press insured that their words would be read by future generations.  We are vehicles for radiating light and understanding within evolving societies that are still self-absorbed and preoccupied with the complexities of choice within the highly unstable, ever changing environment confronting our physical forms.  Our task is to awaken (as Jesus did at his baptism) and to become the leaven for the loaf.  To those who understand that we are powerful spirit beings having a physical experience, their earthly sojourn is a magnificent adventure, perfect for refining what they came here to clarify within themselves.  What we experience is only within our minds.  Only when we succeed at creating with our loving thought patterns, even from our occasional crosses, will we remain engaged in the process of preparing ourselves for even greater opportunities to create on a more massive scale in a realm we cannot begin to fathom.