Chapter 4: A Fulfilling Life
You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey of Self-Awareness, Peace of Mind and Joy by James Blanchard Cisneros.
In the world of illusions, success can be measured a hundred different ways, and failure a thousand others. In truth, you achieve success through your simple participation in the life experience. You experience growth, and that is what you have come to do. If you accomplish what you have come to do, then you have succeeded. In that sense, there is no more need to ever talk about being a successful human being. Yet, the ego offers people the opportunity to set different parameters around the idea of success, and they usually bite at those offers. Trying to set parameters around an illusion of success simply leads to confusion and disillusionment. For how could you ever succeed at putting parameters around something that does not exist? So you end up having many different ideas of what having a successful life really means. All these ideas are judged against each other, each chipping away at the other’s views. Yet part of what the ego tries to sell you about success is that you cannot really be completely successful unless others also view you as successful. Due to the many individual perceptions of success, this makes the task even more difficult and confusing. To add to the confusion, the ego-self so narrowly defines success that many times there is no place for also achieving happiness. Very often, the ego-self sets success and happiness so far apart that you must sacrifice one to achieve the other. Finally, even if others perceive you as successful, deep within, the ego will try to convince you that you are lying to yourself and others, that you are really just a fraud who will soon be exposed.
The world would have you believe that success is a far off destination you reach by overcoming adversity, with hard work, and sacrifice. The idea of success is sold to you as difficult to accomplish with only a small percentage of people able to reach this goal. The ego has you see success as a sitting target, reachable only if you follow its directions. Yet once you reach this sitting target, it soon begins to move away from you; for what once seemed to satisfy you, satisfies you no more. The idea of failure is sold to you as a humiliating experience that brings about shame and dishonor. You are taught that there really is little to no middle ground between success and failure, that you are either one or the other. Even when it tells you otherwise, the ego makes sure that you do not rest because if you do – you will also fail. So, with a smirk, the ego sits back watching you sweat it out between a rock and a hard place. As time passes, its smirk widens because it has taught you that you have only a certain amount of time to reach this destination. As time passes, the ego slowly pushes this rock toward you. So you spend most of your “limited” time in an illusionary search for an undefined goal that moves away from you every time you think you have reached it, and you wonder why you feel stressed, unfulfilled and unsuccessful.
The biggest joke the ego plays is allowing us to define, and put parameters around, the illusion of success. And so we proudly and determinedly follow all the rules, laws and regulations that are set by our definitions and parameters. After much work and dedication, the ego may allow us to finally reach our destination, and we feel happiness and satisfaction for a moment in time. But soon, the same thing that we felt fulfilled by, now becomes less meaningful. It turns out not to be the everlasting success we thought it would be. And so the ego convinces us that if we were to set the bar higher, true success would come. But setting the bar higher on something that does not exist will not bring us everlasting success. And it is not until we realize that our definition of success, regardless of our manifestation of it, is a never-ending raising of the bar. When this realization occurs, we achieve freedom from the illusion. It is this realization that enables us to let go of the illusion. For, in this world, success begins with the recognition that we do not need the bar.
So put the bar aside my friend, and remember the true meaning of success. You are a success. Free will allows you the right to hide it, or realize it. You will grow, but it is your choice as to how and how much. You have free will, thus you can decide to grow through pain or through joy. The way you grow is secretly the way you believe you need to grow. As a child of God, you need never grow through pain, but if you believe this is the only way you will listen and succeed, then you will choose this path.
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