“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” The wisdom—and wit—of Thomas Merton. (20th Century Monk from Gethsemani Abbey, Kentucky)
Success has nothing to do with climbing the ladder of selfish gain, unless you really want to be lonely. There is only room for one at the top. Maybe there is no “right wall.” If we only rely on our own wisdom for direction in life, we have a fool for a guide. Hence the search for Wisdom.
Consider the Wisdom of three great spiritual leaders who climbed down the ladder of success, and found meaning in collaboration–not competition.
Moses left the privilege of Pharaoh’s household to join a band of slaves, and led them to freedom and spiritual abundance.
The Buddha left the palace and surrendered his inheritance for poverty in order to join all beings on the path to Enlightenment.
Jesus emptied himself, and became a homeless servant to heal and teach people the path of love.
So much for climbing ladders and finding the right wall.
Where are you going? Are you climbing or descending? Success may have less to do with ladders and more to do with waking up to the potential and joy of connecting with people in the circle of life.
For more information about Mary Ann Dier Zimmermann, LCPC, click here.
Originally published July 1, 2015