Spiritual Triumphs: Beyond Success, Embracing Growth

Spiritual Triumphs: Beyond Success, Embracing Growth

By Ian Mansell

Thomas Merton was an American monk who died in 1968. He had a great deal to say about living a successful life in the twentieth century while still maintaining a spiritual focus. And perhaps to your surprise, he says we won’t find fulfilment by chasing fame and fortune!

“Modern man believes he is fruitful and productive when his ego is aggressively affirmed, when he is visibly active, and when his action produces obvious results.”

How often do we define ourselves, or the people we meet, by our accomplishments? What do you do for a living? Where do you live? What car? What education? What partner? …and so on.

“It is useless to try to make peace with yourself by being pleased with everything we have done. We must learn to be detached from the results of our activity... and to exist without any special recognition”

Expanding on this, Merton wants to emphasise that our real achievement is not in outward measures of success but rather in better understanding ourself – the truth about ourself, our relationship with ourself:

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

By deepening our relationship with ourself, our first loyalty – which means understanding why we have behaved the way we did,  acknowledging the motivations that drove us and challenging the fears that still inhibit us - we also start to recognise how people around us are a mirror to us. Only then can we start developing true compassion and empathy for others, which will form the basis for our proper legacy.

How people will remember us will not be because of the wealth or status we acquired but by how people felt about us. How we made them feel when they were around us.

 “If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”

Our successes on the scoreboard of modern society are undeniably admirable if they are reflecting the outcome of a real struggle within ourself to rise above past fears and limitations to reach a new level of refinement, but it is only the accomplishment of this internal growth that we will take with us on our never-ending journey of spiritual evolvement.

In the meantime we should be treasuring our ‘failures’ as the real growth points. Failures are the baest opportunities we have to learn about our habits and tendencies. It often takes a complete and abject failure for us to ‘hit rock bottom’, to firstly wallow in despair and then in contemplation to re-assess the deeply ingrained habits that led to our downfall.  We can then use the frustration of our defeat to motivate us to make real positive changes in our life.

The essential purpose of life on Planet Earth is for us to experience the consequences of our self-imposed limitations: then to challenge our fears and to open our wings, embracing our truly omnipotent nature as we fly to new and unprecedented heights.

I feel sure this is what Thomas Merton is referring to in this final quote from him:

“A man who fails well is greater than one who succeeds badly.”

What can you do now?

  1.  Take action – if your feelings are inspiring you to take action, check out our upcoming programs and one-to-one consultations at  www.livingillumination.com
  2. If you have received this email from a friend, you can subscribe here.  It’s safe. We will never share nor sell your details to any other providers.  We look forward to connecting with you.
  3. If you received this email – it’s time to inspire and share this article with others.

Read other articles related to this topic:

#MarchMastery #JourneyToSuccess #LivingIllumination #PerpetratePower #InitiateChange #DanceWithDetermination #SteadfastMarch #TreeOfStrength #PersistWithPurpose #MarchProgress #EveryStepMatters #EnergyFlowConnection #SpiritualHarmony #IlluminateYourPath #PositiveChanges #LivingIlluminationCommunity #MarchSymphony #MasterpieceCreation #ProgressEnlightenmentSuccess