I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another interesting blog this week. Since Thanksgiving Day is in a few days and I won’t be writing on that day, I’ll just wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving day in advance. Please pardon the Turkeys for the sake of our environment and try a Vegan/Vegetarian feast this year.
Today I’ll like to just freestyle my blog (which I do most often anyway). I have been contemplating the subject of failure and its different connotations. Despite the harsh reality that comes with failure and whatever consequences it carries, people still define it differently across the globe. To some financial crisis is a failure, while to others it is a blessing in disguise. Others see rocky relationships as a failure while some see fragile health as a failure. There are those who see anything short of what they desire also as a failure and as diverse as the perspective comes, so does the intricacies of it too. To be honest, I am yet to meet someone who undertakes an activity for themselves, with the sole intent of failing.
Even though this may sound somewhat radical; I must say that failure is actually relative and to measure it with a yardstick is almost impossible. I, and certainly many of you must have heard motivational speeches from celebrities who were told back in the school days that they would never amount to anything useful, because they failed a class or subject. Only for them to become way bigger than anyone could have imagined. So while they may have “failed” at school work, some found their passion and direction in other areas like Music, Sports, etc. One of the greatest minds to be celebrated in the world of Science; Albert Einstein, was described as stupid by his teachers and even some of his early works were called fiction rather than Science.
Just like any other area in life, spirituality also comes with its own kind of failure. Sometimes we slip on our vows or our practices and sometimes we find ourselves struggling with the very basic understanding of the core philosophy. In different eyes, we could be described as a failure especially if we don’t share similar experiences. It is important to note that before we can call or describe anyone as a “failure”, we need to ask ourselves; do we have the same experience with whomever we are trying to criticize? We only gain experience from what we give attention, and our failures come from our experiences. The fear of failing in anything we do can be used as a great motivation to get things right, and it could also be an invisible gun at our heads if we let it control us. No one is a complete failure and even stones that are cast away as unfit, are later used as the cornerstone or pillars of a building.
We fail when we decide to stop trying, and we succeed when we refuse to let our setbacks define us. A setback is temporary if we learn from it and bounce back, a failure is a setback that we have allowed to grow roots in our lives. As spiritual practitioners, we are definitely going to have setbacks and the way we handle them will determine if they become failures or successes. While spiritual life is best practiced in a community of like-minded people, we mustn’t forget that it is an individual journey too. We cannot use our failures to judge others or use the success of others to judge ourselves. To each his own race. We have to be steadfast in our practices and be resolute in our focus.
We will never be without some iota of “failure” in our lives and the way we process it determines the way we progress or not. The beauty of life is that to be successful we would need to build on our failures. Many people learn a lot more from “failures” than they do from “success”. Usually, when a failure occurs we re-evaluate things, think, go back to the drawing board, we try to better ourselves at whatever it is that we do. On the other hand, when we “succeed” we hardly try to critic ourselves to see how to improve, rather we think we are spectacular and hence growth is stagnated because we fail to look for a room for improvement.
In a nut shell, any spiritual practitioner who is serious about making some progress must learn to embrace the duality of success and failure. Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.