Don’t get sucked into the American Success Agenda

This confusion about our True Self and False Self is much of the illusion of the first half of life, although most of us do not experience the problem then. Only later in life can we perhaps join with Thomas Merton, who penned one of my favorite lines, “If I had a message to my comptemporaries it is surely this: be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success…if you are too obsessed with success, you will forget to live. If you have learned only how to be a success, your life has probably been wasted.” Success is hardly ever your True Self, only your early window dressing. It gives you some momentum for the journey, but it is never the real goal. You do not know that, however. In the moment, it just feels right and good and necessary- and it is. For a short while.

-Richard Rohr, The Immortal Diamond, Thomas Merton, Love and Living