Success – Dangerous?

Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear.

Verse #13 from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

In our society we have this idea that failure is “bad” and success is “good.” We now preach that there are so many different types of successes. We learn that there are so many ways that a person can succeed. In the recent years, we have worked hard to expand our definition of success so everyone can feel good about what they have achieved. I’m all for feeling good about what you have achieved, but I think the problem is not our definition of success. It’s our society’s stigma on failure. We have the idea that failure is this horrible thing that you must never encounter. In fact success is built on failures, since very few succeed at anything the first time.

In fact we are so completely hung up on both of these ideas, we forget that nothing we accumulate in material wealth will follow us when we die. We forget that the true importance in life is how we live it and the difference we can make in other people’s circumstances. This is what the Tao Te Ching is teaching us here. That both these ideas of success and failure can be a distraction from the true journey – which is to achieve full immersion and connection to the Tao. We can become as distracted by our successes in life as by our failures. As we move and strive for achievement in life, we should let go of our immovable desire for the results and be in the moment. Savor the journey.

I believe the statement “hope is as hollow as fear” is again speaking of that distraction from our connection in the Tao. When we are fully immersed and connected, you don’t have to hope for anything or fear anything. You know that whatever comes is what was meant to happen and in the end you will have everything you need to have the journey in this life that you were meant to have. Do not let hope or fear distract you from the true oneness with the Tao. Both these lines are speaking of the things and feelings in this world that may move you aside from the path of the Tao. They will be experienced in this life. We cannot help but to experience them because we are living a human experience and that comes with the territory. However, we do not have to let them distract us from our true journey – connection with the Tao and the inner peace that will bring.

In love and light

Celina

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