Success Starts Here Now?

August 19, 2007 at 6:47 am 2 comments

DH and I just watched the movie Peaceful Warrior, about a college athlete who gets injured and discovers a new way of looking at life. It’s very Buddhist, although not called that. A little Castenada and Karate Kid, too. It is basically about the lesson of living in the now, being in the moment, not attaching to an outcome, a future or a past, and missing your life. DH thought it a bit cliche, but I love this stuff, and never regret spending my moments remembering this lesson. (Perhaps I just need it more than he does!)

I spent a bit of time looking up Dan Millman, whose book the movie is based on. And, not surprisingly, he writes and speaks about success, among other topics. I’m going to see if my library has some of his books, as my curiosity is piqued.

Clearly, the movie tells us that success is not winning the gold medal, but being present and awake in our everyday lives, that the journey is the reward, and learning to appreciate the journey leads to more contentment than attaching to a specific outcome. Nick Nolte, who plays the gas station attendant/teacher called Socrates to Millman’s cocky, young athlete, speaks a phrase anyone who reads anything Buddhist knows well, “When we don’t get what we want, we suffer. When we get what we want, we still suffer.”

A good reminder for me, another permutation of which I also bookmarked in Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart, on my nightstand at the moment (for my probably tenth time reading it). Chodron writes about it brilliantly. We think we will be happy “if only…” — if only this were to happen, or that. If only we had this, or looked like that. Even those dedicated to some “higher path” can get stuck in this — if only we meditated every day, ate perfect food, never got upset, “turned swords into flowers” in our life, then we would be content, happy, successful.

Nope.

Perhaps DH sees the cliche in Peaceful Warrior because we hear these lessons spoken of often. But how much do we actually live them? How much can we actually be present in our lives, stop focusing on the past or future? It’s a hard task, and writers and teachers I like to listen to will tell us that even they have not perfected it. There’s no such thing in this life. That’s what makes it this life, and not death (see Chodron for more on this). We will never reach perfection here. So we may as well accept the suffering and enjoy the ride.

I saw a bumper sticker that plays on the “I’d rather be… sailing, golfing, etc” stickers and license plate frames. It said, “I’d rather be here now.” Be here now. The real secret of success? For Millman and Chodron, and many teachers of various faiths, I think it’s safe to say a good place to start.

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Entry filed under: Books, Movies, Spirituality, Success/Failure.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. disha  |  August 20, 2007 at 7:18 am

    Great blog. I really liked it. I have also created a lens in same niche. This is my first time, hope u guys like it. Here’s a brief intro: Your thoughts and feelings really do create your reality. It may seem absurd to some of you, but the easiest way to health and wealth is by constantly monitoring your feelings. If you start feeling any negative emotions, you must find ways to improve those even slightly. With time, it becomes easier and easier this lens is here to provide some basic information on the law of attraction to help you get started on your own path to success.

    Reply
  • 2. lifeinthegravy  |  August 21, 2007 at 1:04 am

    This is a great post, Megan. It falls right in line with a lot of my own personal dilemmas lately. I’ve been tossing around the idea of ‘acceptance’ vs. ‘expectation.’ One brings serenity.. the other, it seems, loads of heartache. Your thoughts are exactly what I needed today. Thanks!

    Reply

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You are visiting "Having Enough (In a Have-It-All World)"...

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To spark conversation about redefining success (as individuals, families and institutions) and to counter "never enough" messages currently circulating in our culture.

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Megan Pincus Kajitani: Writer, Editor, Former Academic Overachiever and Career Counselor, Mom, Wife, Feminist, Gen Xer, Californian who believes that change is possible View Megan Pincus Kajitani's profile on LinkedIn

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