For many of us the word "failure" has been enshrined with shame, and we can quickly recall the multitude of failed relationships, businesses, exercise programs and spiritual endeavours. No failure is permanent unless we allow it to be, and by feeling shame about it, we make it's permanency more probable. In fact after this you will begin to question whether failure even exists in your vocabulary. This is the case as much for our spiritual growth, as much as it is for the material experiences of life.
"On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure. Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear."
I have experienced many failures in my time, but none of them were ever permanent and that is why I want to share the following tips with you. They helped me, and I believe they will help you if you are still burdened by the past. All my failures were slight detours from which I learned many valuable insights.
Here are some tips I have for any of you who are caught up in your negative frame of mind about experiences of failure:
1) Let go of the feelings of shame. Shame yourself for the failure and you will stay down, unable to find the inspiration to continue forward. Accept the failure as a temporary setback, as part of the course you are taking, and you give yourself the opportunity to make another attempt. As long as you shame yourself for it consciously or unconsciously, the valuable lessons, the nuggets of gold, remain hidden beneath a low density shield of energy. It is more than OK to experience failure, in fact it is part of the pathway to any kind of success, material or spiritual. You may need some help releasing those feelings of shame if it is a new process to you.
"The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success."
2) Be aware of how you talk to yourself, there is a big difference between "I have failed" and "I am a failure." "I am a failure" is a statement about you and when you carry that in to every experience you will create more of what you say you are. If you have let go of the shame, saying that you have three failed businesses behind you does not burden you in the same way. Many of those who have enjoyed great success talk about the previous failures with non-attachment but they do not believe that they are failures. Be aware of how you talk about your past experiences with failure, and remember that it does not define you. Your efforts in any previous endeavour will help you make choices in your next one. Others may you call you a failure, but it is up to you to decide whether you agree with them or not.
3) Acknowledge your successes often, expressing gratitude to your higher power for blessing you with them. When was the last time you said "I am successful."? I can guarantee you have experienced successes in your life. If you cannot recall any successes, I would recommend starting to pay attention to them. Grab a notebook, and for the next month at least, keep a track of every success, big or small. If you have spent a lifetime conditioning yourself to notice only the failures it will take a bit of time for you to begin to notice the successes. The more you are grateful for your successes, the more you will notice. With gratitude you will have humility in the victory too. It is a fear of our own arrogance that keeps many from enjoying success. So next time you tell yourself that you are a failure, do this exercise, and read over your previous success experiences.
"A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else."
4) When you can talk about your failures without feeling down, depressed or angry, then your story is a gift to you and others. Making peace with your failures will send a positive message to all those you meet along your path, inspiring them to risk failure. I remember when I started sharing the stories of my failures, without the shame in the story, and realising how many people appreciated it because for so long they had harboured their failures as deep dark secrets. But while they are secrets they cast a spell on our life, one we are not aware of, and one that draws situations to us that ask us to heal the wound.
Sometimes the experiences you call a failure are simply the universe prodding you in the direction of your true calling. I can happily say that for myself, and I am willing to bet this is a nugget of truth that resonates with you when you call to mind certain failures in your life. So lift your head up, accept the experiences you have had, find the gift in them, and move on!
Still unread by many in our western world the Bhagavd Gita has nonetheless influenced the minds of great philosophers and activists who have shared the wisdom of it in their great works. I share with coaching clients the messages contained within it and I have seen lawyers, business people, teachers and other coaches make passionate stands for good in the world as a result of it.
Based on a great battlefield in the text the Mahabarata, it is the story of Krishna and Arjuna and the conversations they have about the battle, of Arjuna's resistance to war, and of the liberation that comes through following one of the three paths of yoga outlined. The pages of this little gem brings forth wisdom I believe is much needed in our modern world. Many great principles are laid out clearly by Krishna, who guides Arjuna as his Charioteer, towards the enemies who stand before him. Much of what is shared is parable, and the enemies he faces represent the thought forms within our own consciousness.
Read the words of 5 game changers who were personally affected by the writings contained within this famous text.
Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden, was a philospher, a tax resister, an abolitionist, an ethusiast of simple living, and a transcendalist. His poetry, essays, books and articles have gone on to influence many others including Tolstoy, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King who seem to have been inspired by some of his thoughts on civil disobedience. Every time I see the name Walden in my life I am reminded of his words.
“In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-Gita, in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seems puny and trivial.”
Helena Blavatsky was a Russian German occultist and founder of the Theosophical society. It was her wish that a reading from the Bagavad Gita be read at commemoration services on the day of her passing, May 8 th which became known as White Lotus Day. In her lifetime she published many writings, the most famous of which was The Secret Doctrine, which collated and organized many of the teachings of different spiritual traditions of the world.
“ A Hindu is a born mystic, and the luxuriant nature of his country has made him a zealous pantheist”
Albert Einstein has left an imprint on the minds of scientists and non-scientists alike, and his legacy will last beyond our lifetimes. His influence on the field of quantum physics, the theory of relativity and our understanding of time as we know it, is sure to be relayed by science teachers for a long time to come. His depth of knowledge in the field of science is immense, but if you have spent any time on facebook you will see that he has left wisdom with us of a spiritual nature as well. Yes, he has been misquoted, but the genuine quotes leave an impression upon us of a scientist who believed in something much greater than our physical world.
"When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous." ~ Albert Einstein
Mahatma Gandhi is known as one of the greatest peace activists of the 20 th century, and his acclaim of the principles of non-violence have influenced many subsequent world changers. His life changed after being thrown from a train, and he had to call upon all his strength and knowledge as a western trained lawyer, to inspire the change that came to India. Initiated in to Kriya Yoga, and a regular meditator upon the wisdom of the Gita, it is clear that many of the principles he lived by were discovered during deep internal reflection. It was after hearing Wayne Dyer say that this was the book Gandhi held so dear, that my forays in to the Bhagavad Gita began.
"When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-Gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day."
Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most oft quoted spiritual teachers of the 20 th century. A good friend has even named her golden doodle wonderdog after him. His ground breaking essay Nature, which formulated and expressed the philosophy of Transcendentalism ( which brought him and Thoreau in to regular contact ) was well received and lead to a speech called "The American Scholar" which Oliver Wendell Holmes considered to be "America's Intellectual Declaration of Independence".
"I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us."
These authors and activist read much in their time, and it is certain that many other books influenced them. I think you can agree that the beauty of their quotes about this book reflect something of the impact it had upon their journey, their faith, and their legacy. It was reading this book, and applying the wisdom therein, which has helped me out greatly on my path of self-knowledge. It has a special place on my bedside table, and any time life overwhelms me, I think of these five great people and remind myself that I may still yet find deeper meaning in the words it contains.
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