You mind was created to help you traverse this physical world. Imagine 10,000 years ago, when the world was a much scarier place for us on the daily. We needed to be able to survive outdoors, hunt our food, and avoid being hunted ourselves! It was imperative that our minds label everything around us as quickly as possible so we could avoid danger. The mind created duality, or the contrast between two things, so that we could know what was safe and what was dangerous. Duality was needed to keep us safe on this planet. But we can transcend this game of the mind to reach a higher level of consciousness: peace.
Success and failure are dualities. Seemingly opposite aspects of doing. You might say you have failed if you get an outcome you weren't expecting. Or you could say you succeeded when you get the outcome you wanted. But we do not live life in a vacuum. We think that we start a task at 9am then finish it at 5pm and we have been successful. But life existed before 9am and went on after 5pm. Other things happened, and you may even now be able to recall a memory of a time you think you had failed, but then as time went on you realized that you were very successful. Or maybe you thought you were successful but when compared to your friend you realized you weren't as successful as you thought. This is the duality we will explore today.
Success. An accomplishment of an aim or purpose. So simple, yet so misleading. What if my goal today is to mow the lawn? And I did it! Yay! Could I say I'm a success? Probably. What happens next week when the lawn needs to be mowed again? I can just recall last week and say that I was very successful then, so I shouldn't have to do it again today. No! Now we have elaborated on the original aim. Now I aim to mow the lawn once per week. That's a very different goal. Can I be successful now? Maybe I go all summer mowing once per week. Am I successful now? Nope. Now the bushes need to be cut back. Now the leaves need to be raked. Now the fire pit needs to be shoveled out. Now the blackberries need to be dug up! When can I consider myself a successful yard owner?!
Failure. Literally defined by Oxford as a "lack of success". Haha! This shows you that one depends on the other. If neither existed in our minds, only our perception of reality would change. Again, let's look at the lawn. My goal was to mow the lawn today. But I didn't get to it. Am I a failure? You would probably consider that a failure. But let's look at it from a different perspective: the bugs. The spiders, ants, beetles, and worms that live in that grass will all be so much happier! Their entire homes weren't destroyed, their children can survive, and the birds are also happier with more to eat! By simply changing the perspective of who failed or succeeded we have changed the entire meaning of the action. If something can be a success to one person but a failure to another, what real meaningful information are we getting by labeling these as such?
Meaningful information. This is an interesting term. Sure, we get some information by labeling you as a failure for not mowing your lawn, but is it meaningful in any real way? Because tomorrow you could mow your lawn. Then are you a success? What about to the bugs? From so many perspectives we can look at this and someone is succeeding and someone is failing. But no meaningful knowledge has come of it. It's a waste of time to go on labeling things success or failure when that keeps changing depending on how we look at it. It's a futile effort.
This is duality. A futile effort. We continue to go about our lives labeling dualities. This is good, bad, light, dark, success, failure. But this never brings us any meaningful information. One thing that is good right now could turn bad for you in the near future. Becoming successful could lead you to utter failure tomorrow. The light goes out and now it is dark, but it will be light again soon. All of these statements are meaningless to our higher selves. And not only meaningless, they hold us back. The hold us back from seeing what is really there in this reality.
The mind has been our greatest ally in keeping us alive, but we have to be able to see past its games to be able to view the world as it truly just is. And the way to see it as it truly is, is just to talk about what it is, not using dual language. Instead of saying, I was successful in mowing the lawn this summer, say, I mowed the lawn this summer. Instead of saying, I failed at cleaning my room today, say, I didn't find time to get the room clean today, I'll find time soon. Do you see that with these switches we are staying solidly in this reality? We aren't going off into the extremes of duality, so we can stay right here, in the center.
That's why I always say to find your center. You can find it with just language. By not getting extreme in our language we can find the balance of the present moment. And in this present moment we can find the bliss that is always available to us! Use non-duality to find that bliss! If we can remain in the center and not on the poles of the spectrum, then we can find the bliss in the now. But when we use duality and go into the extremes, we cannot be in the present moment. It is impossible to be in two places at once. So, find your center within failure and success. Adjust your language, change your mindset, use a new perspective. Find your bliss.
INSPIRED ACTION: I want you to journal about success and failure. Think of some times when you considered yourself and success and dissect it. Think about from who's perspective it could've been failure. Think about how time has changed how you view that success. Maybe it's less of a success now that time has gone on. Now do it for when you've thought you were a failure. Who does it serve to label yourself a failure? How can failure actually lead to success? Now try to rewrite your failure and success statements to find the center. How can you describe reality without the dual terms to be more meaningful? Remove success and failure from your vocabulary.