All over the world, and particularly in the United States, people identify the concept of success with having a lot of money, achieving fame, having a good career, finding your true love, raising a family, owning your own home, possessing all the things you ever wanted, being able to retire, and things like that. But countless people have achieved these goals only to find themselves feeling unhappy inside more often than they thought possible. They wonder if there is supposed to be more to life than all those things, or if they just missed a secret somewhere along the line.
I would begin by equating real success with undisturbed peace of mind. I would follow that up by equating true peace of mind with happiness because if you’ve ever been really peaceful for a significant period of time, you know how happy you feel inside when you’re in that state. Nobody on earth is ever peaceful 100% of the time, but truly successful people know how to return themselves to a state of peace relatively quickly whenever they become disturbed. This ability transcends all types of possessions and achievements, and it does not depend on anything for its continuing existence.
One problem with money, fame, careers, families, and possessions in general is that it’s entirely possible to lose them after you’ve gotten them, and losing these kinds of things after achieving them can be a very painful experience. Another problem is that it’s also entirely possible to get something you’ve always wanted and then find out after some time passes that it really isn’t doing what you thought it would do for you. But for the person who has achieved true peace of mind and knows how to return to it when disturbances occur (and that’s the real key to it all), nothing on earth can take that skill away.
Western religions preach to us that the most important thing in life is having a “one on one” relationship with God, and there’s something to be said for that concept because among other things, we’re told that God is Peace. Jesus Christ preached, “Peace on Earth to men of good will”. Albert Einstein, who was arguably the most brilliant human being ever born on Earth had a very strong belief in a peaceful God, and he also understood that his Theory of Relativity strongly implied the existence of an infinite power that exists somewhere beyond the speed of light and outside our three dimensional universe. Jesus was in a state of constant peace. He only lost it one time, and that was because the money changers in the temple of his religion were so blasted blasphemous that a bit of righteous anger was definitely appropriate. There’s really nothing more offensive to God than people who break God’s laws in the name of God.
Eastern religions teach that the most important thing is peace of mind. Buddhists aren’t even sure that there is a God that’s worth defining, but they do believe that peace of mind is a pretty good substitute definition. The Yogis say that to know God, you have to become God, and the general path leading to that goal is achieving peace of mind that cannot be disturbed. But there’s a great story about a yogi who meditated for many years in a cave in order to become peaceful all the time. After he felt that he had achieved that state, he came out of his cave so that he could spread the good word. Right away he encountered a woman and he began to tell her of his experience. The woman couldn’t grasp his concept right away so she said, “You seem to be very peaceful, yogi. Is that true?” Of course, he said “yes”. Then she said, “Come on, yogi, are you REALLY peaceful?” He said, “I just told you that I’m peaceful.” She said, “But are you really peaceful all the time?” He replied, “Yes, all the time.” But she kept on. “I don’t believe you, yogi, nobody is peaceful ALL the time.” The yogi blurted out, “Damn it woman! How can you be so stupid? Can’t you see how peaceful I am?” Oh, I certainly didn’t make that story up. I got it straight from Sri Swami Satchidananda Maharaj.
So with all that said, you’re really successful if:
– You’re able to have somebody else dial your phone calls for you.
– You have somebody else drive your own car for you.
– You don’t have to do your own laundries.
– You’re completely inaccessible.
– You have Milton Berle living inside your brain.
And that last one is true because if you can’t achieve constant peace of mind, you might as well be laughing about it all the time!