Failing the Driver’s Exam

By Anthony Gold

When I turned 17 years old, I had one short-term goal that trumped all others: to get my driver’s license. Not only did the state require a minimum age of seventeen, but also that the applicant pass both a written and driving exam – one that culminated in the most dreaded of exercises, a parallel parking test.

If you failed any part of the exam, including a less-than-sufficient parallel park, then you did not get your license. And the penalty for failure required a minimum four-week wait until the test could be re-taken.

I remember thinking how devastating it would be to fail that test. Not only the shame and embarrassment, but the requirement to wait several weeks before potential redemption.

The fear of failure – not to mention our perception of failure – is omnipresent in our world. How often do we fail at things in our daily life?

  • Saying an unkind word to a friend or loved one
  • Beating ourselves up for some perceived lack
  • Letting some critical action fall through the cracks
  • Making a bad investment
  • Mishandling a relationship
  • Allowing anger to get the best of us
  • Getting anxious or depressed or fearful

Perhaps far more often than we’d care to admit.

Failure is of the ego (T-13.XI.11)

From an ego perspective, failure keeps us rooted in the body and the world. Failure “proves” this is real, I can suffer, and the source of my suffering comes from my body, other people, and the world around me.

Failure is a state of mind; it’s a judgement we make on ourselves or others. It’s the ego’s way of saying “I’m (you’re) not good enough.”

But as a state of mind, each moment we have the chance to choose between failure and growth. And forget about waiting four weeks, we can take a re-test every moment of our lives!

Each moment we are choosing between failure and success, pain and joy, sadness or happiness – based entirely on our choice for ego or spirit. Everything of the ego leads to sorrow, no matter how veiled the form. Everything of spirit leads to peace and contentment.

Join us in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the opportunity we have in every moment to choose a different teacher (spirit instead of ego), ace every “test”, and be completely at peace. And I’ll share what happened on that fateful day of my driver’s test. I look forward to seeing you then.

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