Firstly, yes, there is such a thing as spiritual success. It’s the same way where there is success in any endeavor you put your mind to, whether it is successfully running a business, successfully birthing a child, successfully meeting your basic needs, and so forth. There’s a clear reality of success and failure.
Sometimes, people try to run to ultimate truths like there is no success or failure. This is true, but it has to be realized. Otherwise, it is just a mental idea. Furthermore, quite a few people use ultimate truths to hide from their issues. So if someone feels like they’re a failure, the success-failure beliefs trigger their issues. So instead of dealing with all that mess, why not just jump to an easy conclusion that requires no hard work? Why not just decide that there is no way to succeed or fail, so why try at all?
So, yes, there ultimately is no success or failure, but there also are successes and failures in our human existence. In the context of the spiritual path, success is finding greater freedom from ego attachments and suffering. Failure is the continued illusions and suffering caused by the ego, and for those who succeed, they know it.
Here are some of the reasons why people succeed.
If you have been reading my blog post lately, you know I’ve been driving home the point about honesty. People do an amazing job of being dishonest with themselves, and that stops people’s spiritual growth like few other things. If you can’t admit you have been abused, have a drinking problem, are scared of people, or whatever the issue is, then you can’t deal with it.
Because we’re so good at deceiving ourselves, it’s often important to get neutral third-parties to offer reflections back to us to see the things that we can’t see and often don’t want to see.
Then, a person sees something they didn’t want to see, and those who succeed on this path are humbled by their realization. And they stay in that space of humility. They accept that they did not know something, and because they are humble enough to accept this realization, they can engage with it.
Without humility, pride, shame, arrogance, and other issues walk in to walk back from the realization and do nothing with it. That gets more than a few people stuck on the spiritual path.
But the humbled person’s engagement allows for more conscious actions to release the attachment and become freer.
Dedication is, first and foremost, about showing up. Showing up is doing a regular spiritual practice. Showing up is making and honoring commitments not just to spiritual helpers, but to everyone else as well. Showing up is doing things when it is hard and the ego self wants to be anywhere else but where it is.
When people show up, they progress, and they find a lot of spiritual success.
Going hand-in-hand with dedication is resilience. Showing up when things are easy is important, but as I just mentioned, dedication is showing up when life is challenging. We have to learn to be resilient to the tantrums of our egos and all the emotions and sensations that they cause to go through our bodies. If we can’t handle our emotions, then they and our egos will continue to run our lives.
The people who succeed find that resilience in themselves. They cultivate it by staying true to their inner work and continuing to surrender.
Along with these other reasons that people succeed, compassion is needed. Anyone who has progressed on their spiritual paths will have made mistakes, had backslides, wanted to give up, and a whole host of other responses. It’s okay. They learn to have compassion for themselves while still choosing to be dedicated, honest, humble, and resilient.
They also learn greater compassion for others. There’s none of this spiritual ego judgment of “Oh, I’m so much more conscious than everyone else,” or “Those poor people are so unconscious” nonsense. It’s more like, “Yep. I’ve been there too.”
People can do a lot on their own, but it’s hard. It’s so easy to fall back into old patterns and to stay there. People who tend to progress on the spiritual path have found support when they needed it, and in having that support, they got through sticking points and found blindspots that get some people stuck their whole lives.
This kind of support lifts the person up instead of tethering the person to a spiritual tradition, healing modality, or individual spiritual helper. That lifting up usually starts by going down into the dark, but for those who truly succeed on the path, they learn that going into the dark is the only true way to embrace the oneness of life that embraces both light and dark.
Plenty of Other Successful Traits
There are certainly other reasons people succeed on the spiritual path to freedom, but the above are a few of the most common. As someone succeeds, they generally find themselves more at peace, wise, and loving, but for those who are succeeding, I probably didn’t need to tell you that.