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Success and Failure

arranging flowers
Episode No. 99

How does chasing success and avoiding failure lead to suffering? A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

First Words from the Podcast

So the topic of tonight’s talk is: Nothing is ever going to go right. At the same time, nothing is ever going to go wrong.

If you’re living your life along the axis of Did it go right or did it go wrong? you’re completely in suffering. Most of us live our lives frantically trying to make things go well. That’s about 95% of our life—trying to make things go well, and then getting upset when they don’t go well.

But nothing ever goes right, and nothing ever goes wrong. If we stepped out of that scenario of something’s either going to go right or well, or it’s going to go badly or wrong, imagine if you weren’t at all engaged with that. You aren’t thinking that anything ever went wrong or that anything ever went right. What would you do with your time?

See, the thing is that when we get out of the fantasy that something could go well or badly, then we actually have to deal with circumstance. We actually have to work with what’s really happening in a plain, straightforward way.

There’s just stuff arising in front of you, and you’re working with it. You’re dealing with it. You’re engaging with it. You’re communicating with it. And there isn’t any trajectory. There’s no distant point that you’re trying to reach where you can go, “Phew! That went well.” Or, “Oh no, that went badly.”

There isn’t any success, and there isn’t any failure, either. Almost every one of you—if not every one of you—is living your life, including your spiritual life, along an axis of success and failure.