“For him in vain the envious seasons roll, who bears eternal summer in his soul”
-Oliver W Holmes.
Human failings are common. One sees them everywhere. They are easy to spot and identify. What we don’t see easily or fail to recognize, is failure garbed as success. We don’t readily know how to identify a successful human being. But above all, our greatest tragedy is that we can’t tell for ourselves our success from our failure.
What does it mean to be a successful human being? For too long now, the yardsticks used to measure or gauge success have broadly been wealth, power and fame. Trapped within these stereotypes of success our institutions, our organisations and all modern societies in general, unwittingly direct our young to this hell of success; where unknown to many, a heaven exists. Everyone is busy chasing wealth, recognition and power, in the belief that it is in the adding up of these factors, that they shall ‘experience’ success. With such a myopic vision, we’re unable to see a reality beyond these trappings. In fact these trappings give us security and a false sense of accomplishment. But if success is meant to make you immune to life’s uncertainties, why then do these ‘accomplishments’ fail us, when the tides of time change?
Very often it happens, that life which was running like a steady stream, indulging your whims and fancies suddenly one day, took you by surprise! It acted up! Circumstances that had till now seemed inert, insignificant and within your control, have now usurped control and power from you. You lie there fallen and tossed about, having been clueless about what was coming. There was no warning, nothing that your senses could perceive… And just like that, the ground was pulled from under your feet.
How does one understand such a drastic change of circumstances? How does one make sense of things that are spiralling out of one’s control? How does one rise above surface descriptions of these circumstances?
When circumstances are in disarray from our sense of control, we immediately ‘know’ that we need to examine what’s happening to learn a valuable lesson from it all. To examine with stillness and purpose, the confounding, the senseless and the indescribable REQUIRES A HUGE LEAP OF FAITH. It is a faith that tells you that you can come to know and understand, that which baffles you now.
Reflecting upon this, is in itself, the summoning up of deep knowledge, knowledge that lies buried under a heap of false ideas. In mining this knowledge, we enter into undiscovered spaces of quietude within our beings. We learn that we’ve been working for things which we already possess in infinite measure. We seek four walls, recognition and wealth from an ever-changing world and that time can take away from us at any time, unaware that we actually live in a space of infinite possibilities within. The loss of cherished ideas and things and positions, should not be mourned for too long. One must strive to recognize that what you lost, was false anyway. Success, then must lie in something we can never lose.
Success is not a summation or an arrival. Success does not lie in what you’ve accumulated for yourself. True success is TRANSCENDENCE. When we transcend our limited self, when we consciously grow in spirit, when we make a conscious departure from our ignorance and enter into a higher awareness; and when we are able to live life in freedom and grace, unaffected by changing circumstances, bearing- as Oliver W Holmes writes- ‘an eternal summer in our souls’, we are in the truest sense successful human beings.
Losing what you accumulated is not failure. But mourning that loss, instead of celebrating it, is! Celebrating the loss of things acquired from the world is akin to a man losing his crutches and discovering that he can WALK after all! Stay alert to make that discovery! Look forward to it!
Ride on faith. Move up and discover new heights of consciousness where your happiness and success are no longer subject to what you gain or acquire, but rather exist in the freedom that lies in leaving things behind.