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Chapter 5 - Success
What is meant here by success is the achievement of something worth while, that shall make the world better and richer, and add something to the common good. Our sphere in life may be very humble, but if we overcome our own weaknesses, help others along life's pathway, and do our daily work better than we need, our life cannot be other than successful. If, at the end of our life, we can be thankful for it, realizing that we have made the best possible use of it, we have achieved real success.
Success, to the unillumined, may mean the accumulation of wealth and the winning of fame. Yet those who give up their lives to the acquirement of these things are the greatest failures in life. They gain wealth, it is true, but they find that their money can buy only those things that bring no satisfaction: that it cannot purchase for them any of the things which are really worth having. Success of this hollow kind, can be won, but at too great a price. The greatest Teacher of all once said: "For what shall it profit man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" What "does" it profit a man if he "gets on" at the cost of happiness, health, joy of living, domestic life, and the ability to appreciate Nature's beauties and simple pleasures?
Yet man must be a striver. He must be for ever seeking better things and to express himself more perfectly. One who drifts through life, making no effort to rise to better things, is not worthy of the name of citizen. Man, if he is to be worthy of the name, must be for ever striving, overcoming, rising. Failure in life is always due to weakness of character. It is only strong characters who can resist the buffetings of life and overcome its difficulties. The man who would make his life worthy of respect and who would rise to high achievement and service, will be confronted by difficulty at every turn. This is as it should be, for it weeds out the weaklings and unworthy aspirants, and awards the spoils to those who exhibit faith, courage, steadfastness, patience, perseverance, persistence, cheerfulness, and strength of character, generally. Success, especially material success, is not, in itself, of much benefit to the one who wins it. It does not satisfy for long, but it is valuable in other ways. For instance, success, based on service, is a benefit to the community. If, it were not for successful people of this type the ordinary man in the rut would have a bad time. Also, the winning of success builds up character. One who would be successful in the battle of life, must be prepared to be tested and tried in every possible way. One who survives them all is built up in character in almost every direction. Even in his success, however, he will be tempted and tried. One who is engaged in the harsh struggle of business, or who takes part in public life, may, if he does not watch himself very carefully, become hard and callous. Of all failures this is probably the worst. One who succeeds in other directions and becomes a "hard man," is, after all, a sorry failure.
Again, people of the successful, striving, climbing type, are tempted far more than those who are afraid to venture and who remain in the valley of mediocrity. This is true, not only of those who seek to climb the steep path of spiritual attainment, but also of those who are successful in mundane affairs. In each case, they have placed in their keeping great powers and influence such as the ordinary man little dreams of. This is a grave responsibility, for if these powers are used for self-aggrandisement the results are disastrous. Thus, those who climb, are beset on all sides by temptations of a very subtle kind, which, if yielded to, will ruin the life and do grave injury to the soul.
Life is a continual battle. To the ordinary person it is generally a fight with circumstances and the ordinary difficulties of life which are very important in his eyes. The more advanced soul is not troubled much by these things--he rises above them--but he is tempted and tried to a much greater degree, and in a far more subtle manner. Those who think that by following a certain "cult" or "ism," they will be able to have an uneventful walk through life are merely deluding themselves. As he learns to overcome the difficulties of life which baffle the ordinary individual, he will be tempted and tried in other and more subtle ways. This is because life is not for mere passing pleasure, but is for the building up of character, through experience. Therefore, one who would succeed must be strong, and wise and patient. Those who aspire to make their lives really worth while: who desire to serve their fellows more perfectly: who want to build up character through experience and overcome all their weaknesses, inherited or otherwise, must look within for power and wisdom.
It must be pointed out, however, that man must not use his spiritual powers for selfish purposes and self-aggrandisement. There is an immutable law, which has been known to the inner teaching all through the ages, that forbids the use of spiritual powers for the creation of wealth or even of daily bread. Jesus was subject to the same spiritual law, and was tempted exactly in the same way as we. The tempter said: "Command this stone that it be made bread." If Christ had turned the stone into bread, He would have failed in His great mission, but He knew the law. There are thousands of people to-day who are trying, not only to turn, by the mis-use of their spiritual powers, stones into bread, but also into motor cars, fat bank balances and lands and houses. Such are heading to disaster, for they are working "against" the combined Spiritual Power of the Universe. The Enemy of Souls offers those who have learned to tap the inexhaustible Power of the Universe, and who have discovered that they are sons of God, wealth, power, pomp, the applause of men--the glittering things that perish--if only they will mis-use their God-given power. Like Jesus, they must refuse. They must put service before self, and give instead of grasping.
Thousands are being taught to-day to force their human will upon life and to use occult powers for the acquisition of wealth and power. They are taught to enter the Silence and demand "what they want." "How to get what you want" is the slogan of these modern teachers. Not merit, not service, not giving, but demanding, compelling by human will-power and by the use of occult forces. This is another device of the Enemy of Souls, and it is taking tens of thousands of seekers for Truth out of the Path. This subject is dealt with more fully in a separate chapter.
If, however, man's ambition is to serve and to give, instead of to grasp and to grab: if, also, he seeks success through merit and not through the mis-use of his spiritual powers, he can go forward and the Power will go with him and will help him. When once the Power has been aroused, man must cease all purely selfish striving, although, of course, there will still be much selfishness in his motive. He must seek his success through service and through following noble aims: through merit and a fair exchange, instead of trying to wring success from life, no matter who may suffer thereby.
Further, when this Power has been brought into expression it must only be used in love, for if it used otherwise it will destroy the user. Again, the Power must not be used by the finite human will, but an endeavour must be made to find what the Will of the Whole is, and to work in harmony with it.
Behind each life is the Divine Will and Purpose. Each life is perfect as it is imaged in the Universal Mind. The highest success, indeed, the only true success, is to live the life according to the great Cosmic Purpose, or, in other words, as it is imaged in the One Mind.
Do not imagine, however, that it is the Will of the Universal Mind that man should be a failure or lacking in achievement. Far from it, for we have only to contemplate the Universe to see that the Infinite Mind is for ever achieving and that it never fails. Man, too, must succeed, but let him mix wisdom with his ambition, and work for the benefit of the Whole, rather than for any purely selfish purpose.
It is natural for man to "get on" in life, to a moderate extent.  In order to "get on" he must become more efficient, and thus serve life and his fellows better. Therefore, there is no harm in success of this kind. It is natural and laudable also for one in poor and unlovely surroundings to have an ambition to raise himself to better circumstances. It is only right that he should desire to make life brighter and better for his wife and family. So long as he indulges in ambition wisely, and if he seeks success through "better service" to his fellows, his is a laudable purpose. If, however, he does not curb and control his ambition but allows it to "run away" with him, he will lose all real joy in life, and, at the last, when it is too late, learn, to his sorrow, that his life, through too much "success," has been a failure.
 It must not be deduced from this that the author deprecates large achievement. There must always be the few who have to bear huge responsibilities. The real success of the lives of these great ones depends entirely upon their MOTIVE. If they seek merely power, fame and self-aggrandisement, then their life, no matter how it may APPEAR otherwise, can be only a failure. If, however, their motive is SERVICE, then their life is truly successful, no matter how it may appear to be otherwise. The writer's experience has been that it is necessary that we should always be progressing, achieving, overcoming and endeavouring to succeed. One of the greatest laws of the Universe is progress, therefore it is fatal to stand still. We must go forward, we must achieve, we must accomplish things. If we do so, we may find that many things which cost us much effort, and hard work are not worth the having, yet all the time we are learning, through experience, and are being strengthened and prepared for greater things. Through repeated failure to find true satisfaction we arrive finally at true knowledge, wisdom and understanding. We are wise then, if, with the world at our feet, we can be satisfied with a very moderate material success, and turn our attention and aspirations to higher and better things.
In concluding this chapter let it be pointed out that success and achievement will not drop ready made from heaven into your lap. All who succeed are gluttons for work, toiling whilst others play and sleep. All teaching to the contrary is erroneous. To think that success is going to come to you when it is unmerited, simply because you make use of "affirmations" or employ mental "treatments," is folly of the first water. On the other hand, to use the inner forces in an occult way, so as to compel material things or "success," so-called, in any shape or form, to come to you, is black magic. One who stoops to such practices becomes a black magician, earning for himself a terrible retribution. There is only one way to succeed in the affairs of life, and that is by raising oneself to greater usefulness and service. By doing things better than they have been done before, by bearing greater responsibility, you serve humanity better, and therefore merit success. "It is more blessed to give than to receive," said the Master, and this is true even in the practical and material affairs of life. First, you must give better and more valuable service: in other words, deserve and merit before you expect to see it materialize. You must sow before you can reap: you must become too big for your present position before you are capable of occupying a larger one. You must grow and expand in every possible way, and as you grow so will your success increase. Outward success is only a reflection, so to speak, of what you really are, and a result of greater and more valuable service to humanity. It requires great effort and determination to get out of the rut, but so long as your ambition is not ignoble or selfish, there will be found within you power sufficient for all your needs.
To win success, either in the hurly-burly of life, or the more difficult path of spiritual progress, demands imagination, vision, courage, faith, determination, persistence, perseverance, hope, cheerfulness and other qualities. These are all to be found within. All these qualities lie more or less dormant within, and can be called into expression if we believe that Infinite Power is ours.
Again, however, must the warning be repeated that this Power must not be used for selfish self-aggrandisement, still less may it be used, or, rather, mis-used, either to influence or dominate others. If this Power is mis-used the results are terrible and disastrous. Therefore, use the Power only for the achievement of good and noble aims and in service which shall enrich the life of your fellows, adding to the common good. Having arrived at this stage you must go forward. There can be no holding back. Ever onward, the Divine Urge is sending you, to greater achievement and accomplishment. Just as surely as the planets must revolve round the sun and fulfil their destiny, so also must you go forward. See to it, then, that your aims and ambitions are based upon eternal wisdom, for upon this does your whole future depend.
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