The prison of worldly ambition……

The last couple of years, when people ask me what my ambition is, I say to be a happy, decent human being, to be useful to other sentient beings, a good mother to my son and to be able to die well. It is not that I have given up ambition, but I have no interest any more in worldly ambition e.g. being a ‘name’, having power, status, money, acclaim etc. A friend suggested to me recently that everyone wants to leave an imprint, to make it into the history books. I said ‘whose history books?’  The impact anyone leaves remains, whether or not anyone acknowledges it. If our motivation is to have a good impact, and it does, then it does not matter whether or not people recognise it as such. History books are full of people who had little to zero beneficial impact, and absent are millions who had a very positive impact. This is why we cannot judge a person’s life or actions from worldly acknowledgement alone. The impact of a person’s actions and ideas sometimes cannot even be seen for many lives to come. If our actions are motivated by worldly ambitions they automatically become a cause of suffering for ourselves and others. If that looks like being a ‘failure’ in your eyes, those are your eyes, not mine.

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