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Success! What Is It, Anyway?

SUCCESS!! What is it, anyway? I think a lot about this, asking myself the question, "Self, on what are you basing your success...today...even now?" I have to do this, you know. Because I so easily slip back into old, conditioned patterns of thinking...of living...of stressing.

Be glad you're not me. But, maybe you're like me. Here's how Mark Nebo phrases my neuroticism with "success."

"From an early age, we are taught that to live fully is to be accepted, and to be accepted, we need to be seen. So we base success and even love on the effort to be seen, on how much we stand out" (from The Book of Awakening).

It's true, isn't it? It is for me...all too damn often. The ego in me feeds off the attention it receives...the recognition it gains...and, no matter how much attention or recognition I receive, the "good" feeling I have inside of having finally "made it," is all too soon replaced with the feeling I haven't quite made it yet.

I know better than this. The Buddha taught us about the pleasure/pain circus of madness...that, the very thing which will bring you pleasure today will bring you pain tomorrow. Jesus put it like this: "Lay not up treasure in heaven..." - we've mistakenly thought he was talking only about money and material possession. To the contrary, He may just as well be talking about whatever it is you imagine heaven to be. For me, it's always just a little more recognition than I've received already.

In my better moments, I know that success has little to do with my external circumstances...almost everything to do with my internal state of peace.

Today, I will remind myself to look within...to live within...to view my internal world, my mental state of peace as that place where eternal treasures reside...where "nothing," as Jesus said, "can corrupt and no thief can slip in and steal it from me." I will know that there is nothing I could ever "do" to be a success, I AM a success. To know this...is to have succeeded already.