My favorite event in the Winter Olympics is the figure skating. The precision, discipline, incredible concentration, years of practice, inspiration, dedication and commitment required to be the best in the world are awe-inspiring. The same rule applies to success in the other sports as well, no doubt.
I love listening to their stories of how they became one of the best skaters in the world. Invariably huge sacrifices were made along the way. Invariably, success required thousands of hours of practice, time many kids spend playing, watching TV, on Facebook or gaming. Often their families make huge sacrifices financially, even moving to different parts of the world to be close to qualified trainers. One skater from Japan changed her citizenship to Russia so she could train with her dream-coach for pairs in that country.
Most of us will never know what it feels like to stand in front of tens of millions of viewers on TV with a gold medal in hand for a job well done. We can only fantasize about what kinds of thoughts and emotions rush through the minds of those few who achieve such grand Olympic success.
But that’s okay. We all have our own niche to fill and only a few can be an Olympic champion. We can be a champion in other ways, and most significantly, a spiritual way.
The ultimate success in life will never be a material accomplishment, such as a gold medal, a high paying position, a family raised, or social, political, economic achievement. It will be spiritual growth, discovering spiritual reality as the all and all of existence—entrance to heaven!
Compared to spiritual life, everything in this world pales, and rapidly.
Just as it takes sacrifice to win a gold medal in figure skating, though, downhill skiing, or snowboarding, are we willing to make the sacrifices necessary to garner spiritual success? Are we willing to put in the hours of practice, the days of study, the years of commitment to reach the worthy goal of spiritual understanding? Are we willing to drop activities in our life that are not contributing to our goal, that hold us back, distract us, scatter us and dilute our effectiveness? Are we willing to make the investment required to be successful? Are we willing to sacrifice to be successful?
Jesus was not evasive about the demands placed upon the student who desired spiritual achievement. To the young man wanting to know what more he needed to do to be saved, Jesus said, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matt. 19:21). “Sell what thou hast,” means more than just losing attachment to material goods. It means to give up and get rid of mental commitments that distract from total spiritual mindedness. To reach spirituality we have to give up all materiality, and this is where the sacrifice comes in.
It only seems like sacrifice to the mortal mind that wants to hold on to matter as substance and wealth. But to the spiritually inspired, thought quickly sees that the loves of the worldly minded are poverty with God. There is nothing to give up at all, except a false belief of what true happiness and riches really are.
Like the aspiring Olympians catching a glimpse of what success looks like and thus becoming willing to sacrifice anything that gets in their way to acheive it, once we catch a glimpse of what spiritual success looks like, it’s much easier to sacrifice attachment to the world that gets in the way.
So, you can “skate for the gold” today–live for God, not for temporal glory, position or status, and reap the reward of peace, health and harmony that come from devoted spiritual mindedness.