For many people who identify themselves as spiritual or progressive minded, competition is taboo. Competition is something that we seek to eradicate from our being in order to be good, create harmony and in order to reach enlightenment. But in order to become truly aware we need to take competition out of the garbage can and we need to realize that competition is not black or white. It is both black and white.
If you look around the natural world, you will notice that planet earth is inherently about competition. Every life form on earth has evolved to be the best at achieving its prerogative. In fact, survival of the fittest guarantees that if you do not evolve up to speed with other species, you will be eliminated. For example, the only deer whose offspring will live are the ones who are the fastest and therefore in order for the lion’s offspring to evolve, they need to evolve to be even faster or smarter than that. There is competition everywhere in the natural world. And like it or not, we are not exempt from the natural world. We are hard wired to compete as well. In fact, the ego (sense of self) can only exist in comparison to something else, something ‘other’. For example, the color green can only exist if there is something that is not the color green to compare it to.
To compete is to strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over another who is trying to do the same. By it’s very nature you can see that competition is a rivalry. You cannot compete without comparing yourself to something else. So the question is, can comparison and rivalry be beneficial?
Expansion in this universe, the process by which Source comes to know itself, is dependent upon comparison. When we experience thoughts and things in the world, those things become the platform for new thought and new thought is expansion. They give rise to new desire. For example, the Internet would have been totally inconceivable to people 200 years ago. The thought of it could not have actually been thought. But once the telephone was invented, people began to be able to imagine a fantasy futuristic world where information could travel across space and time invisibly. They could only think that thought because they had something to compare it to. And now, the internet is in competition with libraries. No one has to leave the house to check out a book to access information anymore. Obviously in the process of competition like this, some beings experience pain. It isn’t fun to lose your business because something replaces it or makes it obsolete. But looking at the previous example, most of us would agree that having information at the touch of our fingers is worth the pain of losing our old process of learning, no matter how ‘feel good’ libraries are. And believe me, that statement is coming from someone who hates reading things digitally, there is a magic about holding an actual book in your hand and the smell of the pages that will never be replaced for me.
The bottom line is, for new thought to be born and for us to know how far we can go and to experience what is possible, we have to stretch the envelope beyond where we have stretched it before. When we do this, we are in competition with what has come before us and we are often in competition with other beings who are trying to do the same. If we did not have this drive within us, would we be where we are today?
In the sports world, there is a common understanding. You will not become a truly great player by playing people whom you can easily beat. It is only your true rivals those who can actually defeat you, that make you the best athlete you can be. Therefore, many great athletes consider their rivals to be partially responsible for their success. They force you to raise your own expectation of yourself. They force you to have to get more and ore creative. Part of why they are so good at fueling your expansion is because they force you to face and integrate all of your insecurities, which are actually the thing keeping you from success. In this respect, rivalry and competition can be the very best thing for your own personal expansion and even healing process. It is your rivals that will teach you the most in this life.
There is competition inherent in being a spiritual teacher. We all know the statements designed to decrease competition between spiritual teachers “Everyone has a teacher that will resonate with them specifically”. “Different strokes for different folks.” But the reality is that what most spiritual teachers want is to create the best strategy for all people to end their suffering. When someone successfully does that, many other teachings provided by other spiritual teachers will be made obsolete. Because what we offer is ideas, like it or not, we are in competition for people’s attention and agreement, just like politicians are in politics. If one of my teachings directly opposes the teachings of another spiritual teacher, we are now in a position of opposition. We could call this a rivalry. It puts students in the position of having to choose which philosophy to align with. This kind of competition naturally occurs even if no one, including me, wants conflict. And this rivalry should stay because it is what is evoking the best in each other. The best ideas, the best concepts, the best growth, the best processes etc. You should be rooting for our competition to be good, not so that they can beat you, but so that you can be equally good or even better. In other words, even though competition does not exist beyond the ego, in the realm of the ego, it does exist and it, just like the ego can assist universal expansion and even the progression towards awareness.
As much as many of us do not want it to be the reality, as long as there is ego, which there is in singular form, there will be competition. All that happens when the ego becomes healthy is that the form competition takes on is healthy instead of unhealthy. The measurement becomes about yourself relative to your own desires that are inspired by other people rather than about yourself relative to other people. So the question is: What is this other person or this other person’s success making me aware that I want? This is the game of life. And the game itself is fun until we think we can’t have what we want.
The problem with competition begins to occur when we see the rival as the reason we cannot have what we want rather than the thing showing us what we want and challenging us to achieve what we want. The problem with competition begins when we see ‘something that is wrong with us’ being the reason we cannot have what we want. This is how competition creates rivalry that is unhealthy instead of healthy. This is when we start to try to stop other people’s expansion for the sake of getting what we want or being superior. And it is this form of competition that most people associate with competition.
We have the tendency to do one of two things when our attitude towards competition is unhealthy, 1. We keeping ourselves small and do not play in games here in the 3-D that involve competition when we want to avoid conflict. It is natural for many of us to fear conflict. Many of us were really unsafe emotionally or physically or both when we got into conflict and conflict implies rivalry just like competition does. We were hurt by it before. We don’t want to be hurt by it again. For this reason, I want you to watch my video on YouTube titled: How To Overcome The Fear Of Conflict. Or 2. We try to put down the competition or eradicate the competition in some way so that we can get what we want. This is the angle we take if we have poor self-esteem and feel it is impossible to gain or win something when someone else is going for that same thing. We subconsciously see them as better than us in some way. Both these strategies hurt people and ultimately hurt the collective.
From a universal perspective, the negative expressions of competition would not exist if we were dedicated to expansion. If we were truly dedicated to expansion, we would be ready to step up to the plate no matter what and ‘let the expansion win’. This is the opposite of what we are seeing with green technology. The powers that be already know the technology is better. They know they will be replaced if it takes hold of the market so instead of stepping up to the plate and creating something even better or even jumping on the wave of green technology, they are holding on to their current industry by blocking and shutting down the competition. All of us suffer because of this. If we were dedicated to expansion, we would let go of what we are attached to if something that served our expansion more came along, whether that’s an idea, a concept, a way of living or a thing for example.
From a universal perspective, at the highest level, there is no such thing as competition because when one thing achieves success, all achieve that success. All benefit from the expansion. There is no differentiation between the individual and the collective. We destroy ourselves when we destroy the competition. This can teach us a lesson. When competition becomes poisonous is when we do not remember that all things in this universe are in fact us. It is all too easy in this life of singularity to forget that we are one. Therefore, we forget that other people’s hurt is ultimately our hurt and other people’s successes are ultimately our successes. But when we cannot feel good about other people’s successes, it means we do not feel good about the things we feel we are losing or cannot have. And it is that pain that needs our loving care and attention.
Comparing and contrasting is a necessary part of life on earth. Looking for the ways things are the same and different helps us navigate our environment. Comparing things with respect to who is better and who is worse can have huge repercussions if our sense of self worth is involved. Comparison thinking is only beneficial with respects to better seeing what we want. If the outcome of it is to feel better or worse than someone else, it is self-torture. It also causes us to lose track of our own internal guidance system and our own purpose and inner calling because we can easily start to live our life trying to measure up to someone else. Each person is here to do something completely unique. So the idea that we are here to achieve the same thing is a fallacy. That would defy expansion as well. We will not find ourselves and our true desires and true calling by comparing ourselves to other people. I is also a ripe breeding ground for jealousy and envy. For this reason, I want you to watch my video on YouTube titled: Jealousy and Envy (How To Deal With It). We would not have a problem with competition and we would not take it personally if winning were not tied in with our personal value during socialization when we were growing up. Loss generates a sense of shame. For this reason, I also suggest you watch my YouTube video titled: How To Overcome Shame.
Once you know what other people are doing, stop focusing on what other people are doing and focus instead on what they have caused you to know that you want and how to achieve that.
We can use our awareness of what other people are doing to define what we think and what we want and by doing so, we have the opportunity to stretch ourselves even further. This is the process of self-actualization. We are really only ever in danger of truly suffering as a result of natural competition if we stop using others as a means to become more and instead, see them as the reason we can’t achieve whatever success we want or the grounds by which we see ourselves as not good enough. The bottom line is that competition can either be a tool of expansion or a tool of destruction. And it is in our hands which way we want to use that tool. And remember, for you to become better, someone else does not need to become worse.
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