Success means different things to different people. What does it mean to you to be successful? Does it involve being rich? Do you yearn for Oprah fame? Or would you rather know that you have raised beautiful, healthy children in a world that is topsy-turvy? All these are success depending on a person’s ideology.
When I was much younger, I spent a good 20 years studying many different kinds of philosophy and spirituality. I dibbled and dabbled until finally I decided to get the degrees to show for my studies and ended up with a masters in philosophy. This was after years of study with my spiritual teacher, a Hindu master. Yes, he was my guru. There are so many misconceptions about that word. The word itself means “the one who sheds light” on something that resonates within oneself to be true. It awakens oneself to a new concept, a new identification that makes their life better in some way. In that way, it brings them success.
The word itself means “the one who sheds light” on something that resonates within oneself to be true.
My guru was His Holiness Swami Chinmayananda of Chinmaya Mission and he traveled the world for more than 40 years teaching Advaita Vedanta. I always remember one lecture where he asked what it meant to each of us to be a successful person. By what do I measure MY success? How do I know that I have succeeded in life?
He proceeded with his lecture after that question and let us leave for the night leaving the question hanging and unanswered. He had said enough though to make us think deeper. A few days later during some further verses, he stopped and asked, “So what is it to be successful?” And he smiled. He knew it had been on our minds.
He continued as if that question was part of the lecture for this day. He asked, “Does it matter to you to have more money? Or fame, or love — sexual love (and raised an eyebrow)?” You can imagine the smiles in the lecture hall… a monk in an orange loincloth, questioning us youngsters on sexual love… and he continued. “Is it fulfillment of DESIRE and love you deem as success? To be a good wife or husband? What is it?” Swami always liked a good joke so he continued to stir us up and before we knew it, the whole hall was involved in his teasing us. Then he became stern, as he could do so well, and roared, “Decide! Decide NOW! Decide in this instant… now!” He clicked his fingers three times and continued with the rest of the other verses of the text.
It was so fast and different. From humorous to serious in a flash. The effect was instantaneous for many of us. I decided in that instant that for me it was to say that I had truly helped at least one other person in some way to ease their pain and be a part of their progress. That was what success meant to me. After the lecture, the hall was a buzz. Many of us were chattering about the effect of his words and discussing our conclusions as to the meaning of our personal success. The moment was like a flash of light (guru — the one who sheds light). I guess that’s why they call them enlightening.
So now I put his words to you out there. What does it mean to you to be a successful person? How do you measure your success? You only need ONE thing. You don’t need the whole list describing all the things you need to do. Decide! Decide NOW! Then do it again and again and guess what? You will have a whole lifetime of success. Decide now… in this instant.