Recently I posted on Facebook this thought of mine…
“Repeat after me… ‘I am responsible for my success in all areas of my life.'”
Many people repeated. A few added to it and edited to make it their own. And one person responded with a very important question:
“I wonder if we would encourage a starving African child to repeat this, or how about a prisoner at Auschwitz.
At some point I have to admit “what you resist persists” feels like I’m sticking my head in the sand.
At what point do we admit there is a hidden nefarious hand guiding many aspects of our lives?
The question really gets to the heart of many facets of our human experience. It goes deep into our psyches both unconsciously and consciously, and it shows up in different ways.
For example, it sheds light on one of the most common criticisms of the Law of Attraction:
“Why would starving kids in Africa attract this experience from birth? How did their beliefs make this a reality?”
I’ve explored this some, from many different perspectives, and I don’t have an exact answer. The reason is because although I’m human and subject to my own biases and conditioning, I do my best to teach and answer from a place of personal experience. I don’t have an experience that I can really say “From birth, I am confident (or not) that I attracted a particular experience”
What I can say is that we are all interconnected. What may feel right and true for one person may not feel that way for another person. There also seems to be some “Universal” Truths that, although may not sound exactly true for every experience, can often be “translated” and integrated in different aspects of our lives.
To follow the example question, we might instead have a starving child explore the possibility: “I am responsible for doing the best I have with the resources I have.” In this way, success can be redefined. In fact, I’m a huge advocate of letting go of our external definitions of success and redefining it terms relative to our inner experience. This would be more like the adage, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”
That’s a very very short answer. My personal advice though is to really reflect on a bigger question that is at the heart of being human:
“Why is there suffering in the world?”
Nobody is immune to suffering. It just turns out that people who are starving, facing extreme pain or illness, or in traumatic or horrifying situations seem –to us– to be comparatively worse off than people who are not in those situations.
But who are we to judge another person’s suffering?
I have heard many stories of people –children and adults– in horrifying situations and abject poverty who were “better off” than the people who came to help them.
Now I’m not advocating that we seek or condone horrifying things. Nor am I suggesting we just let people starve because “they chose this path.”
What I am suggesting is that we have MANY ways to view a situation, and it’s up to each of us, individually, to inquire with ourselves and see what we discover to be true about our own experiences and perceptions.
And while you’re at it, seriously, reflect on this question:
“How might our suffering, and the suffering of others, be beneficial for our world?”
Yes, I rephrased the question a little bit. After all…
If we can redefine success, why can’t we also redefine suffering?