Chapter 20

Defying Defeat

The idea of defeat is so painful that is does emotional violence to the heart. Yet feelings of failure arise from a misunderstanding, both of the nature of the universe and of what has happened in our lives. We feel defeated when we have committed our hearts to someone or something, and all hope for a positive outcome seems lost. The truth is that experience is cyclical. The essential elements of any experience lie in others. There is always a chance to do better tomorrow.

We feel defeated when we have tried, and the extent of the heartfelt effort measures the extent of the pain of failure. Simply wanting something and not getting it is not defeat, but frustration. It causes anger and often curtails our energy, but remains on the periphery as a temporary setback. The essence of defeat is a sense of the irreparable and a feeling of personal responsibility for our failure.

Intellectually, we can deal with defeat through a clearer understanding of its true nature. Only those who have tried can feel defeat. It is for the worthy. Failure is also never totally our fault. In fact, it could be very largely the result of realities outside ourselves. And failure is never complete. We can always see some good in what we have undertaken. But the sense of defeat is also an emotion, and healing that hurt is primary to restoring the strength and confidence we need to move on.

The healing quality of laughter and tears is one of the mysteries of the soul. We know from experience that laughter brings us not only joy, but release and acceptance of a reality that is far from perfect. We laugh mostly at human foibles and in the laughter we forgive. Tears also nourish the soul and make it possible for us to accept that in some ways we have failed to measure up to the standards we have set for ourselves.

But what, above all, enables us to rise above our own weaknesses and disappointments is the good we find in ourselves. Failure was not total. There was much good in what we did and that good was motivated by love. And it is the love that lit our path that will give us the strength to believe in the essential goodness of our being and show us the way to move on to a better life.

Laughter, tears and love are the essence of our humanity, the grandeur of the human spirit. Here lies the power for good that overcomes obstacles and loves where there is fault. Only those who have not tried have never known failure. Only those who have never dreamed have never known defeat. We are human. Let us forgive our faults and open ourselves to a loving and fruitful tomorrow.


Beginnings and ends
laughter and looking through tears
at what we leave behind
memories illumine the darkest heart.

The love that lit our path glows within
bringing light to the night
making possible the next moment
showing the way to move on.


I live in a healing universe. My natural tendency is to be in harmony with the divine order in and around me.

I welcome the laughter that fills my life and heals my soul. I welcome the immense comfort and release of heartfelt tears. Both cleanse my soul and soften my pain.

My spirit can never know defeat. There is always enough love in me to face my faults and enough courage to see the way to move on.


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