Question: When I read the Bible, I have comfort followed by guilt in some passages, such as: "It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." I am torn about what "making it" really means. Is it wrong to want to be successful?
Answer: What each of us must do, if we are ever to be truly successful human beings, is learn to ask what the "results" are that we are seeking. Being spiritually asleep as we are, when a certain thought passes through our mind, along with a certain emotional content and image, we believe that the picture we have there in our mind is what we really want. But the truth is that we have all had one reward after another in obtaining what we imagined, yet we are still hungry for more. If this much begins to get clear -- that we live from a nature that is a bottomless basket (and we see the results of this nature on the world around us) -- then we begin to question the "results" it seeks. We see that these results are not only unattainable but untenable as well. As we drop the drives that belong to our highly conditioned nature, we gradually discover that the result we wanted all along was there all along -- to be our own person, and to have our own life, free of the insanity of ambitious competition and all the rest. Then we have succeeded. And best of all, the Truth that makes this possible then sees to it that we have the rest of what we need.
Question: Are failures in life inevitable? Does the Higher Power, once attained, see to it that we only succeed?
Answer: Try to understand the difference between living from something within yourself, whose nature is contentment itself, and living from those parts of yourself that are forever seeking contentment. For the man or woman who persists with the wish for Truth/God to be first in life, there really is no such thing as failure. Why? Because every action taken under the auspices of this inner wish purifies the person holding it in his or her heart -- leaving greater clarity and more inward certainty about what forwards the Truth's action and what hinders it. In short, the person begins to win true wisdom with its infallible intelligence.
Question: The idea that we should "take no thought for the morrow" sounds great... to live each moment as it is... yet how can we practice this and still set goals for ourselves?
Answer: It is not a question of setting goals and having directives versus being spiritually awake. The real issue is the right order of things. Being awake and self-aware must come before personal goals; otherwise, the nature setting those goals may have an agenda contrary to Real Life. One level of self feels it cannot be fulfilled without continually reinventing a new future for itself wherein it is at last a "winner," while our True Nature rests content in reality and knows now that it already possesses everything it needs. We must choose which of these natures we will nourish.
Question: How possible is it to excel at something in this world without being driven by unconscious forces?
Answer: When we are "driven," it is always to arrive at some point wherein we will no longer feel as though something is missing in us. All such drives in us are doomed at the outset. Here's why: These compulsive states of self are the unconscious expression of the opposites within us where the insufficient self we think ourselves to be projects a time and place where we won't be this same self anymore. This divided state of self produces conflict, frustration, and ultimately disappointment, because no opposite can resolve itself. On the other hand, when it is the love of something that motivates us and moves us, that love -- for whatever the endeavor may be -- is its own reward in the moment. This is the real definition of success. Here there is no future and no past to escape. And best of all, Love is the perfect self-purifier, which means each action taken under its direction elevates the one so directed.