Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Success and Cravings

Yesterday was a truly beautiful day here in Vermont. The sun shone, the temperature was just right, and the day begged you to come out and enjoy it. So I did. I didn't have to be at work until 3pm, so I decided to have myself a picnic lunch down by the waterfront. I bought myself a couple of magazines, put on my SPF 6,000 and went out into the day.

One of the magazines I purchased was Tathaastu. It wasn't the newest issue, which apparently Borders didn't have yet, but the March/April issue. It had a lot of good articles on ayurveda, yoga nidra, meditation and other things of the mind/body genre. One article particularly stood out for me: Field of Comfort by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. It spoke not just of physical comfort but mental and emotional comfort.

If you read this blog at all, you know that I suffer from an overabundance of perfectionism that has a tendency to make me, well, crazy. This article reframed the notion of success and failure for me. An excerpt:
There is so much talk about success everywhere. Everyone wants to be successful. Have you ever thought about what success is? It is simply ignorance about one's capabilities. Success is ignorance about the power of the Self because you assume you can do only that much. So you have set a limitation to your Self and whenever your cross your own boundary or limitation, you claim success...
...When you are successful, you are proud of it, and if you fail - you feel guilty and upset. Both can drag you out of your joy, out of the greater potentiality you possess. So the best thing is to surrender to the Divine. 
If you are successful, so what? It is another happening, another thing that you did, and you can do much more. And if you couldn't do something well, then, you couldn't do it, that's all. This moment, do you wish to do it again? Then have that Sankalpa, the intention - "I have to do it!" Then you will make good progress in that direction, without feeling guilty, or being judgmental.
Not being able to do something, not being able to "succeed" is big for me. However, this reframing really allows me to think, okay so I did something. Fine, no biggie. Okay, so I didn't do something. Fine, no biggie. If there is no such thing as success and failure - just a thing I did, or a thing I haven't yet done, what is there to feel guilty about? How then can I tell myself that I am a Failure if I haven't failed? I simply haven't done that thing yet. Maybe I will. Or maybe I will decide that I don't have to. Maybe I will decide that direction is not for me, or maybe it is and I will try again.

In the same article he had a bit on craving and aversion - specifically to other people. Another (shorter) excerpt:
Watch out for cravings. A craving happens first for appreciation of talents and then you start getting attracted to it. Then attraction turns back into craving and all these things go on. The world that begins for you then is not a divine world but a demonic world. So watch out for this craving in you, it will cling to anybody. Then you will send a "I miss you so much" card and say, "Oh, you put me into so much longing, you are so good, I never met anybody like you!" and such expressions. All this happens not out of surrender or gratitude, but out of craving.
Okay, so... how many "I miss you" texts have I send to The Boyfriend over the last couple weeks? I crave him, I fully admit that. But... this craving really isn't doing either of us any good, is it? I mean, we both have our own lives to live and we aren't going to see each other any sooner than when we finally see each other again, so what is the point of obsessing and suffering over it? Best to just let the craving go.

It's really back to my old mantra, isn't it? Let go the attachments that no longer serve you. I'm not saying to let go of The Boyfriend, but rather to let go of the craving for him. That negative attachment that only serves to make me clingy and whiny. Accept what is, in this moment, and let go of the rest.

Good advice.

Hear ends my daily bout of introspective navel-gazing. Thanks for playing along! ;-)

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