Finding Success

Hard-work? Determination? Smarts? Luck? Or perhaps a variety of factors? What is it that determines whether we achieve “success” in the world? I’ve been researching the answer to this question for a while now. I’ve watched videos of prominent people talking about it. I’ve listened to speeches and interviews. I’ve read books on the subject. I’ve even attempted to peer into the lives of the successful. And the most striking thing about success, is the lack of a practical path. There is no physical pathway that leads to success. The overall summation of my research is that material success is based on the immaterial, the spiritual.

In my own life for instance, I noticed that I was not spiritual or successful. In practical terms, success is not something that can be chased directly, there are too many external circumstances that require synchronization. So the only solution for someone like me, is to pursue spirituality. And through spirituality, the pathway to success becomes available — or at least that’s my theory.

Spirituality, as used here, means a belief in a world that is not physical. Existence is not a series of interstellar accidents, but a dream. And importantly, it’s a lucid dream that can be influenced. Success, as used here, means achieving satisfaction with our place in the world, performing our desired role, and having fulfilling relationships with others. Just collecting possessions or achieving a particular goal does not equal success, as we can observe the suffering of those with only superficial success.

The spiritual path is one we can step on at anytime. We need nothing but the thoughts within our head. It’s a matter of filtering these thoughts through a particular perspective. And in this instance, it’s believing that dreams do come true. To believe this, we must dismantle the concrete world we built, the one sitting on a foundation of lack and limitation. We must replace it with a new and wondrous world built atop a foundation of infinite possibilities and hopefulness. In short, it’s trading pessimism for optimism.

Elevated Thought

Dear Rich, how can I tell if my thoughts are from the higher self or of the lower sort?

The devil deals in divisiveness whereas God works with oneness. Whatever separates into lesser, or judges by value, is base. Whereas whatever brings together, building bonds of unity, is exalted. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Be careful not to categorize for the purpose of better-ness, for its fruit is bitterness. Work not to build barriers but to dismantle them. Thoughts that support this foundation of wholeness are the holy type we welcome — whereas thoughts that fractionalize and minimize, we must dismiss.

Doing good is doing as God. We must forgive as He forgives. Give to all as He gives to all. We are to be gracious and grateful guests at this gathering granted to all. We arrive late and empty-handed to a party in full-swing, the higher self shows appreciation for the invite and pitches in to make sure everyone is having a good time.

Dreamer of Dreams

I’ve begun to think of life as a dream. I am therefore the creator as well as experiencer of my existence. My wandering mind sets the stage while introducing a cavalcade of characters. This is a lucid dream, one in which I’m aware and able to influence. Yet I’m more often lost to the narrative before me, allowing the story to meander as it will.

But this directionlessness isn’t always satisfying. My mind wants to be constantly entertained, so in a pinch it’ll select a cheap thrill to rouse itself, living by the motto: anything is better than boredom. My mind regrets these low-quality selections of course, getting the equivalent of a tummy-ache from the lack of nutritiousness.

What I need instead, is to fill my head with wholesomeness. One such mental-vegetable is the concept of oneness, the deconstruction of my sense-of-self, egolessness. It’s stepping back a bit from my character, seeing him as just part of the show, not some super fragile shell that needs constant protection from imagined calamity.

To perform this deconstruction, I’ll have to remove the border I perceive between myself and existence. I’ll need to reinforce the idea that “I” and everything are one. To tear down the wall of “me”, I can regularly imagine my body dispersing into particles, flowing through the aether, formless yet present, a costume to be discarded at will — for I am a dreamer of dreams.

External Influences

Humanity has typically believed that external forces influence life’s narrative, both globally and personally. Within ancient books and plays, gods and goddesses tend to influence the action, often directing someone’s blow to strike where it makes the most impact, or they help someone survive when he otherwise wouldn’t. And sometimes god comes from the machine to significantly alter the course of an otherwise obvious ending.

There are those that proceed upon a journey, full of trust in a Creator they believe will protect them in an unknown wilderness, relying on this Almighty’s guidance to see them through. Even inspiration itself comes to us as if by some external means — why do we suddenly know something we never knew before? Random chance is not a satisfactory explanation for the obvious narratives we experience as individuals and as a greater society.

In more modern interpretations, we do not see ourselves as playthings of the gods, mere rag-dolls to be thrown around. No, we have become fragments of God himself — and divine powers are ours if we only realize the truth of our situation. But for some reason this truth is elusive, we’re not meant to fully grasp it in its entirety all at once, for perhaps we’d choke on its enormity. And so we enter this world ignorant of what we are.

To those that seek, truths are revealed. And from these seekers come sips from a common well of wisdom. Yet like any interpretation, much is lost in translation. Dirty cups taint and spill as contents are transfered ungracefully. For the undiluted truth, we must personally walk the path. If we are to see, it is our own eyes that must open. A seeker’s role is not to teach of what he finds, but simply point the way to the well — allowing he who thirsts to quench himself.

Magical Moments

For most of my life I did not believe in magic or anything of a spiritual nature. My friend on the other hand, does believe in magic and has experiences that corroborate her belief. She readily wins games of chance, guesses right answers, reads minds, stumbles into things she needs, telepathically communicates with relatives over long distances, and has magical moments. In contrast, I have no luck, suck at guessing, can’t read minds, barely communicate with family over the phone, and experience no magical circumstances.

Of course I tried to shrug off her magical abilities, but I’ve lived with her for two decades — for how long can I ignore the obvious? Life is not as concrete as I thought. Whereas I thought her magical mumbo-jumbo was the product of a fanciful imagination at work, she thought my pessimistic physical-world-based reasoning was terribly limiting and just plain wrong. Point taken. I was clearly closed-minded and suffered accordingly: I believed in a dark and dangerous world and experienced it as such.

If she says magic is real, that the basis of reality is spiritual, not physical, then who am I to judge? And it only took me twenty years to become this open-minded. Now I want to be a magician, I’m ready to believe that wishes can come true, that life conspires to fulfill my dreams. And of course I must apologize to her for my constant unbelief and dour predictions about every outcome. I get it now, and as penance, I shall endeavor to shed my relentless pessimism.

I always seek to align myself with whatever seems most likely to be true. I’ll drop my beliefs in an instant if at anytime they’re proven wrong. So after realizing the wrongness of my so-called realism, I reject it. But like most people, I’m liable to retract in the opposite direction when discovering a source of pain or error. Consequently, I might be rejecting material existence to a degree that seems excessive, but who knows. I, for one, welcome our new elfin overlords.

Spiritual Sport

We’re just toying with ourselves, “a cosmic game of hide-and-seek”. We act like we don’t want to be found, then lament when we’re not, so we pretend we want to get caught, but coyly retract when getting too close. But that makes sense of course, because why should we want to wake up from our dream?

So to keep ourselves constantly engaged we imagine the worst stuff, frightening and angering ourselves just to go deeper into the dream. We hide behind fear and outrage because it’s easy. Where else would a non-material being hide from itself? But utilizing fear and anger is an act of laziness, a lack of creativity. The most primitive means to achieve compliance in behavior is to instill fear through rage.

So the mature approach is to move beyond anxiety and anger as a means to captivate ourselves. Think of a movie complex showing several different movies. The most engrossing movie is going to be the horror that makes us literally jump out of our seat as it implants ideas that haunt our imagination long after the initial viewing. It takes maturity to appreciate more subtle themes.

Because, if we’re not perpetually distracted, we’ll begin considering the unreality of existence — and this can be uncomfortable. So we take the quick and dirty route of scaring ourselves. We perceive a world filled with constant calamity, always on the precipice of doom. But the world is ever on the edge of disaster, yet still persists — a condition that only proves the artificiality of it all.

While it’s a bit uncomfortable to contemplate the illusionary nature of existence, the alternative is certainly not an improvement. To believe in a naturally evolving world ruled by randomness is a recipe for endless anxiousness. Fear and fury are ugly manifestations, they’re not worth it. We must cultivate higher means of captivating ourselves.

Not fear and fury, but fun and fellowship. Not decay and destruction, but design and development. Not lack and loss, but love and lightheartedness. A menu sits before us, the choice of how to hide is ours. So let’s put in the effort to develop a more refined palate, shall we? Let’s focus on the best of what life has to offer.