Oh Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember them for the suffering they inflict, rather, remember the fruits we bear. Thanks to this suffering – our comradeship, our loyalty, our humanity, our courage, our generosity, and greatness of heart grows from all of this; when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have borne be their forgiveness.
This prayer was found at a Nazi death camp at the conclusion of World War II.
Talk about a selfless sentiment.
Well, now, we're going to discuss overcoming the only obstacle to achieving ultimate success.
You've likely heard, probably a number of times, that life comes down to "one thing." Seemingly the idea that life, or success in life, depends only on one thing suggests life is simple, easy, and effortless. This makes sense if the one thing is simple, easy, and effortless. Then just do that one thing consistently and continuously, and life becomes simple, easy, and effortless. But what if the one thing is not so simple? What if the one thing is complicated, challenging, and unnerving?
In this session, I'm going to be so bold as to insist a big part, maybe the biggest part of succeeding is to stop doing the wrong thing – one thing. This session focuses on that thing to stop or eliminate or overcome. And the next lesson focuses on that thing to do.
You might say, we're focusing on the negative here – the one thing holding us back. And in the next lesson, we focus on the positive; the one thing to propel us forward.
In both cases, however, neither are simple, easy, and effortless. We have work to do.
Life is dynamic, success is dynamic. When you stop moving, you've reached the end; figuratively at first, but eventually literally as well. Success, either in a moment of triumph or achievement, or in the ongoing effort of an attempt, is always a feeling. Everything in life represents, stimulates, or calls forth a feeling.
Life is feeling. Success is pursuing and realizing good feelings.
Test this idea with your friends sometime: Ask them about success.
When talking about success, people often point to esoteric notions of fulfillment and enlightenment. They don't want to say it's all about money, power, and status. But instead of focusing on what they say, observe what they do. Watching what people do, as opposed to what they say, reveals their true beliefs.
They may say they're seeking enlightenment – but what are they putting their efforts toward? What they're putting their time, energy, and efforts toward is what they think is success.
Success is ultimately a feeling; of joy; of expansion and growth.
Success is more – more life.
You succeed when you move in the right direction. And one obstacle stands in your way of moving in the right direction. That one obstacle, one barrier, one impediment, causes us to squander our energy, waste our talents, and diffuse our focus.
Every time we succumb to the power of the obstruction, we fail to fulfill our true potential. The one and only obstacle to ultimate success is Ego.
Ego leads us from tranquility to turmoil, from cooperation to competition, from abundance to scarcity. By placating ego, we invite pain into our lives.
Unleashed, the ego intends to dominate; to define a separate self, a self apart and distinct from all else, a self that would be king.
Wayne Dyer summed up ego as six ideas:
I am what I have.
I am what I do.
I am my reputation.
I am separate from you.
I am separate from what is.
I am separate from God.
A Course in Miracles explains the power of ego as, "We are asleep, dreaming that we are separate from God."
That aspect of self that sees an "I" as separate, seeks to exalt that "I."
By surrendering to ego, we lose contact with our essence, our awareness. We lose feeling, we lose vision, we squander our ability to choose for our highest good; we lose our freedom and forego our power.
The seminal weapon of ego is the double-edged sword. One blade is fear, and the other is arrogance – both blades cut deep.
Fear rules in relationships; we dare not engage lest we face rejection. Fear rules in business; stepping up may confirm we are not worthy. Fear rules when we dare not act lest we appear the fool and risk loss of status or prestige. Fear weakens and enslaves.
Arrogance and hubris are the other faces of ego. Ego rules by pride, conceit, and intimidation. Ego convinces us we are superior to others – more capable, stronger, more intelligent, more deserving. Ego says we are better than the great unwashed. Ego causes us to ignore the still, small voice within, and dismiss our own feelings – our guides.
Fear and arrogance both undermine and dominate. Lost to ego's power, people tend to seek allies in the world, often with toxic results.
The first and most profound choice to succeed in life is to choose opportunity over ego, freedom over bondage, good feelings over bad. When you release yourself from the grip of ego you find peace.
The most direct, and surest way to overcome ego is to recognize ego's influence. Recognize when the sword is unsheathed. When you feel, fear the ego is influencing you. When you judge and condemn or criticize and blame, the blade of arrogance is brandished against your highest purpose. Release the sword and let it fall from your grip.
Ego leads to pain. Ego causes you to resist the free flow of life. Ego is about "me," "I," and "self." It is selfish, self-serving, and fearful.
Divorce yourself from ego. Move away from ego to recognize that life is about "we," "us," and "everyone." You are not separate. You are not alone.
Your choice is either to accept or resist; resistance is from ego.
Accept responsibility, reject ego, and listen to that still, small voice inside guiding you and telling you that the way is easy, the burden is light.
Humility empowers your true nature and is the way to wisdom.
To go from the skepticism, fear, and self-righteousness of ego to truth requires conditioning yourself to step back from the emotion of the moment. Recognize and realize circumstances are what they are, and that is all. Now, which way are you going to go?
Want simple, easy, effortless? I do.
No condemning, no criticizing, no complaining. Choose a better direction and move.
There is no victim. There is no one to blame.
Your choice is to accept or resist – to be in harmony and at peace or to be in conflict; ego's temporary illusion of power.
Ego doesn't put you in the fast lane; it puts you in the oncoming lane so that you find it difficult to hear the still, small voice guiding you in the right direction.
Overcome the obstacles in your mind: "I have been wronged," and "I am unworthy."
These misperceptions of arrogance and fear require forgiveness. Forgive.
The journey from sleep to awakening is made in small steps.
You are not separate. You are not alone. You are one – whole, complete, powerful, and loving.
My prayer for you is that you recognize the promise of this life, and in so doing overcome ego to fulfill your potential.
Choose to overcome the one obstacle holding you back – ego.
The choice is always yours.
Make the right choice!
In lesson five, we look more closely at the one thing to propel you forward.