What We Give to Life

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl wrote, “Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued: it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-produce of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. …success will follow you precisely because you have forgotten to think of it.”[i]

Society provides an abundance of false images of success. Hyper-individualized multi-tasking, eighty-hour workweeks, the “more is better” mentality and the virtual world of iPhones and apps are just a few of society’s success deceptions. As my yoga teacher said, “’Busy’ has become a status symbol.” To embrace your heart’s true desire and manifest your vision, are you willing to sacrifice your attachment to an idea of success based on society’s ploys? What superficial roles are you attached to? Are you attached to exaggeration? How often do you hit the pause button?

Reviewing where you focus your energy will help you redefine your intention and manifest your own vision, which recognizes success in your everyday life. In “Shattered Vision,” Thomas Keating asks us to look at how we create defeat by becoming too attached to the external world, “How does one push on? Is it by giving up the vision? Not exactly. Rather, it is by being willing to do so. For that renunciation is the only way to move beyond what one thinks is the vision and embrace what really is the vision. In other words, you must transcend all your own ideas of how to reach the place of vision in order to get there.”[ii] Keating suggests that what you push for may require sacrifice, misunderstanding or even vilification. You must have the courage to say, “I know the truth, so I can live with this. I will never lose courage.”

Even during times of hesitation, you will feel more secure and less alone because you are working to manifest your vision—not your mother’s vision, not your employer’s vision and certainly not society’s vision. Do you know, or have you witnessed, anyone who, in his or her pursuit of career advancement, demonstrated selflessness to achieve fulfillment?

[i] Frankl, Viktor E., Man’s Search for Meaning, Boston, Massachusetts, Beacon Press, 1959, XIV.

[ii] Keating, Thomas, “Shattered Vision,” Contemplative Outreach News, Volume 16, Number 2 Fall/Winter 2002-2003, 1.

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