The Thin Red Line and quotes about Success

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Author: 
Karnamrita Das

THINKING ABOUT THE "THIN RED LINE" IN RELATIONSHIP TO LIFE'S DUALITIES, quotes about SUCCESS from various sources : This was a title from a movie about the horrors of war that comes from an old Midwestern saying, "There's only a thin red line between the sane and the mad." This title first came to mind some years ago as I was dealing with the flu for many weeks and couldn't seem to get much better, and then again with my cancer diagnosis and simply observing myself and others, both family and friends, as they experience their own diseases, and the process of aging, and the apparent finality of death (which most people don't want to think about!). I thought of the thin line between sickness and health, and then extended this idea to see the small difference between any of the dualities of the material world.

So we begin with the thin line between health and illness, and then between biological life and death. We can further extend this if we go down the list of material dualities: happiness and distress, fame and infamy, cold and heat, courage and cowardliness, pleasure and pain, and perhaps most interestingly as posited by some, deep spiritual experience and insanity.

My basic life theory, based on my experience and through life and scriptural study, is that real lasting happiness comes from the soul, our real, unchanging self, or we could say, our consciousness. Life on the spiritual path is a Course to show us beyond the theory we study that we can not find what we are really looking for in matter, though we try for countless births and types of bodies. On the path of bhakti, we spiritualize our life by keeping the spirit of devotion in alive in everything we do and in direct spiritual practices such as hearing, chanting, or remembering Krishna, Deity service, keeping good association, and seeing through the scriptures.

Still, we have to deal with our body and mind, and that can be a struggle, and even more so, in how our body and mind intersects with others, and situations we don't like. Regardless of this fact, the more we make spiritual progress the more joyful we become in any circumstance, since our happiness is less and less dependent on externals but comes from our inner life of devotion--all too slowly perhaps, but still, we have the taste that drives us on.

And Krishna helps us through his devotees, and through His tough and tender love, as the case may be--but His love is All-Good, and in that sense whatever comes to us is ultimately meant for our highest good. What is good or bad is a state of mind, though to see the benefit we have to cultivate a spiritually positive attitude and be patient to understand the gift in all circumstances! We tend to find what we are looking for, and we receive more of what we focus on!

SUCCESS: "And, for the service of the Lord, he is always daring and active and is not influenced by attachment or aversion. Attachment means accepting things for one's own sense gratification, and detachment is the absence of such sensual attachment. But one fixed in Krsna consciousness has neither attachment nor detachment because his life is dedicated in the service of the Lord. Consequently he is not at all angry even when his attempts are unsuccessful. Success or no success, a Krsna conscious person is always steady in his determination." [SP purport to Bg 2.56]

"Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have." [Zig Ziglar]

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." [Theodore Roosevelt]

"Every successful man I have heard of has done the best he could with conditions as he found them...." [Edward W. Howe]

"The only true measure of success is the ratio between what we might have done and what we might have been on the one hand, and the thing we have made and the thing we have made of ourselves on the other." [H.G. Wells]

"Achievement is not always success, while reputed failure often is. It is honest endeavor, persistent effort to do the best possible under any and all circumstances." [Orison Swett Marden]

"I do the very best I know how--the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end." [Abraham Lincoln]

"It is simply a matter of doing what you do best and not worrying about what the other fellow is going to do." [John R. Amos]

"Every youth owes it to himself and to the world to make the most possible out of the stuff that is in him..." [Orison Swett Marden]

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." [Ralph Waldo Emerson]

"The talent of success is nothing more that doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do." [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

"For those who are fruitive workers, the Lord awards the desired results of their prescribed duties, as the yajnesvara; and those who are yogis seeking mystic powers are awarded such powers. In other words, everyone is dependent for success upon His mercy alone, and all kinds of spiritual processes are but different degrees of success on the same path. Unless, therefore, one comes to the highest perfection of Krsna consciousness, all attempts remain imperfect, as is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.3.10):
akamah sarva-kamo va
moksa-kama udara-dhih
tivrena bhakti-yogena
yajeta purusam param

"Whether one is without desire [the condition of the devotees], or is desirous of all fruitive results, or is after liberation, one should with all efforts try to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead for complete perfection, culminating in Krsna consciousness." [SP purport to Bg 4.11]