Happy 2008! I have always admired Mohandas K. Gandhi, but that admiration and respect has been deepening as I decided to start this year by reading a book called “Words of Gandhi”.
Just one of many quotes I have already enjoyed (that capture simple, yet profound thoughts) is this:
“I do not believe…that an individual may gain…while those around him suffer. I believe in advaita*, I believe in the essential unity of man and for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe if one man gains spirituality, the whole world gains with him and if one man falls then the whole world falls with him to that extent.”
*(advaita…is one of the two branches of Vedanta…holds that Brahman, the Self, is ultimate reality, and that the world has come into being from Brahman and is wholly dependent on it)
When I asked my Hindu friend last night what she thought about this quote and more about what it might mean, she told me that she wasn’t so sure about Hindu philosophy, but that she strongly agreed with the idea that we are all connected, that – because we are all connected – when one succeeds we all succeed, and that when one fails we all fail to that same extent.
I’ve thought about that a lot over the last few years – and about what is it that makes some people jealous of another’s success, feeling like it is somehow their own failure?
This is just my idea, but perhaps because we focus way too much on what we are getting (and what we have) than who we are becoming (and what we give), and in that way are deceived in our understanding what true success is?
I like the concept that we are all connected – and that when one succeeds, all humanity succeeds to that same extent. But what does it mean to really “succeed”? Any ideas?
Perhaps that is material for a blog entry on a different day…
your post is a whole paper my friend ;-D or book, or several, or is it simply about the meaning of life? struggling to accept what we have and not what we don’t. what is success? it is truly in the eye of the beholder. is it about acknowledging what i have and accepting it, or is it about pushing forward to have more? agh. i really could go on and on.
the given for me is that there is too much focus on what we have, what we get. the first question out of my mouth on x-mas is ‘what did you get?’ instead i need to focus on the – what did you give – in the form of a present in the traditional sense, or rather – how did you give of yourself?
in reality though, your post is a good reminder for me -> staying in the present and accepting success as what is now, rather than some thing i can’t see.
When one succeeds all humanity succeeds to that same extent…I think that this may resemble the foot mark that one leaves to other. When one succeeds then it signifies the victory of humanity on any thing that was previously considered as impossible. Now this encourages the possibility of man to explore new things and generate hope which is a significant step for whole mankind.
I just received an email with the McKay School Newsletter. Congrats on winning the award and on completing your doctorate. What great accomplishments! Good luck in Finland.
Hello Clint, I wish you all success in being happy and progressing on some path of liberation, away from Suffering.
Sure 2008. I wish you have the luck and dedication to be able to attend a 10 days Vipassana course, not far from your home.
I have done it and it is so practical, interesting, humbling to see how much by taking care of myself, I have done and am doing so much good beneficial to others 🙂