Healthy attitude to failure


Thomas Edison was the inventor of the light bulb. We can well imagine what our lives would be like if it were not for this marvellous invention. While we may take this invention for granted, it was invented through relentless labour. It is said that one day, a critic tried to belittle Edison by saying that Edison had failed 25,000 times while experimenting with a storage battery. The great Edison is said to have replied, “No, I did not fail. I discovered 24,999 ways that the storage battery does not work.”
Edison’s persistence produced wonderful inventions. His attitude toward failure was what made him successful. He looked upon failure as a learning experience leading him closer to success.
We can apply Edison’s attitude toward failure to our own spiritual life, including our practice of prayer and meditation. Many sit for meditation and prayer day after day, and sometimes feel discouraged if they have not reached their spiritual goal by the tenth time they meditate. Instead of pursuing goals and persisting, many people give up. They feel that if they did not attain their goal right away, they have failed.
This attitude causes them to give up too early. If Edison put in the time to keep designing a light bulb 25,000 times until he succeeded, couldn’t we sit for meditation 25,000 times to turn on the inner light bulb?
Failure should not discourage us. If we sit for meditation and receive some flashes of light, or some colours of lights, we should not be disappointed. These are the first steps. By sitting regularly, we will become more proficient in our meditations. We have no idea how beneficial every minute spent in meditation is for us.
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj