The world is full of achievement. Most people spend their lives seeking to achieve success, wealth, and fame. These are all great things to be sure but they are not the highest achievement.
Almost everyone lives their life alone though they are surrounded by the mass of humanity. Almost everyone has a secret they never share; they spend their life hoping no one guesses what it is. By living in pretense they deny themselves the truth of their achievement.
I never tell anyone that I know their secret. They think I don’t see how weak they are and how confused. I let them pretend they are big and strong; I let them imagine I am soft and feeble. If they think I am as mixed up as they are then they will leave me alone. If I smile just right they believe I am as unhappy as they are.
I was a troublemaker as a child. My parents would send me to church so that I might find salvation but instead of turning left at the fork in the road thereby achieving my goal I would somehow end up turning right to spend my Sunday mornings smoking cigarettes I bought with the money I'd been given for the collection plate while playing pool with the other miscreants at the pool hall.
Of course word trickled back to my folks from my grandfather who missed my shining face in the familiar pew. The following Sunday I would be driven to the church steps with stern words of warning from my folks. But again, instead of turning left into the church I somehow got sidetracked into turning right invariably finding my way back to that smoky old pool hall.
My grandfather came to our house one dire Saturday. He sat me down to talk to me, words of doom and how disaster would follow me the rest of my days lest I repent. He always said I would go to hell for my sins. But I figured when I got there my sins would no longer matter. I wanted to explain that to him but I knew he would never listen. So instead of learning to speak I learned not-speaking.
I talk very little even when spoken to. Those who talk much know little. Of what I know I cannot speak.
By masking my knowledge I simplify my problems. I shield my senses from bright objects of desire and temper the need to possess them. I am at one with the dust, water, fire, sky, and with the wind. This is called original union.
I am unconcerned with friends and with enemies. I am unconcerned with good and harm, with honor and disgrace.
This is called the highest achievement.