Scott, just when I think I have it all clear in my head, I stumble now and then.
Please help, again, with this status you recently posted:
“As an adult ego you surrender your freedom to create your own feelings.
Now you believe someone else anoints you with feelings of success.”
Thank you for your question. While I respect your humility, please allow me to take a large part of the responsibility for your confusion. It’s not my best work. Add to that the limitations of our 140 character world and we’re left here—where I’ve managed to communicate almost nothing. 🙂 But as life is, there is always another side, and the upside of this is that my lack of clarity means it’s now a blog entry instead of a status line, so hopefully I’ll be clearer in 700 words than I was with 140 characters.
Our feelings are created through our own awareness. We have to learn to see our consciousness like a container and we have to start getting picky about what we’ll put in that container. No more toxins! When we’re kids we’re geniuses because we waste zero energy on self-consciousness or worry. We just do. We are fully invested in our awareness so we notice so much. But by the time we’re adults we trade feelings for emotions, and now we’re filling up our container with stories about the world and our doubts about our place in it. So as a child “success” was a given, every day. It was all you did. Because without failure there is no success, and without language there can be no failure.
As a kid you were. You knew how to Be. Not Be anything specific. Just Be. And that in and of itself is the ultimate success. It is to live an enlightened life. But as an adult you learn all these word-ideas. You get graded in school, you get told what’s right or wrong by your religion or government, you learn about prices and limits and achievements and status and like ladders you want to climb these ideas.
You want more and you’re always aware of what you’re lacking or missing. You now have a list of words that describe success and you’re trying to get the puppet of your ego to perform the script written by your culture. You’re busy collecting people, things and experiences that you believe will frame an acceptable you. Your success is now dependent. It is conditional. It is outside of you and you need to earn it. This is just the modern version of the age-old idea of original sin.
Is this making sense? When you were a kid you were happy to swing at a ball and miss. As an adult you need to hit it to feel like anything even happened. When you were a kid you would happily perform dance numbers in front of people, but as an adult you’re shy and you roll your shoulders in as you try to become part of the background. When you were a kid you would proudly show the world every piece of art you painted, and yet even if you’re a trained adult with a good reputation, you’ll still worry every time you start a painting that you might do something wrong.
Success is not something missing that we need to go get. Success is a verb that we must enact in our own being. We must move successfully through the world, without attachments or desires or wants. We must be clear and open and free. We must be like children, with their silent thoughts and their wide open minds. We must see again. We must awaken to the everyday wonder that makes every day of our existence so profoundly meaningful. To relax into that reality is to have truly succeeded.
That’s my shot at extrapolating that status, Curious. It’s up to you to decide if I expanded you or not. But I thank you nevertheless for the opportunity to make this spiritual concept clearer to you and others.
All the best,
Following a childhood accident should have left him dead, Scott McPherson spent his life meditating on thought, consciousness, reality and the self. Seeing the emotional damage done by ego-based overthinking he began dedicating a part of his life to guiding students toward more peaceful and rewarding lives. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, Canada.