If you are not doing well, your meditation must not have been doing well. Use your meditative tools for your success; don’t use competitiveness for your success. Don’t use competitiveness for your success; use your meditative tools for your success. See? In skillful action there is no competitiveness. Put aside that.
The only competitiveness is in the story, a very well-known story of Akbar and Birbal. Akbar is a great Mogul, the emperor of India, and he administered very, very intelligently, wise and witty, wise and witty; and a minister named Birbal. There are all sorts of anecdotes about them.
Everybody was jealous of this Birbal because the emperor was a Muslim; Birbal was a Hindu. And “How come this heretic is being given such prominence?” and so on, and so on. So there were mullahs around who were so very jealous of him. So they asked the emperor, "Well, how come you give him such honor and so on. He’s not even one of us?"
He said, "All right, I’ll answer you later."
So a day or two later, the emperor came to the court and said to his counselors, "Well, Counselors, today I have a problem for you all to solve." So he drew a line on a board, and he said, "Anyone here, would you please shorten that line?"
So it was very simple for anybody to get up and erase a part of the line. It’s shorter.
"No no, no. I don’t want anybody to touch that line. Don’t do anything! Don’t touch that line, but I want you to shorten that line."
Well, how do you shorten a line without touching it?
And so every counselor and every minister and everybody in the court tried, and they couldn’t figure out a way to shorten the line without touching it. So at the end, he said, "Give up? Birbal, come on. Shorten that line without touching it."
Birbal said, "Your majesty, may I have your chalk please?" Birbal takes the chalk and he draws a longer line: "Your majesty, your line is shorter."
And that alone, anything, anywhere in life, that alone should be the rule for your competitiveness. Draw your line longer. Don’t bother with somebody else’s line. If you know to discover what your utmost capacities are, you just work with those capacities. And you don’t have to say anything. You don’t need to compete. You don’t need to downgrade somebody, you know. You don’t ever discourage somebody. You don’t ever speak ill of someone. You don’t have to be angry with them. None of that. You just find your utmost in capacity, to the optimum benefit of everybody, taking care of all the other balancing factors, and do the best. You write an examination; you’re not going around checking what everybody else is writing. Whatever best you know you can, you do that.
So what’s the competition about? And if you have that view, and with that for your success, use the meditation tool. The deeper and more intensive your meditation grows the more your work will succeed. This formula is a time-tested formula. And if you’re having problems, ask for a spiritual practice. And intensify that. These are the subtler forces that the meditator connects to. Just learn to connect to those interior forces. All right?
[Editor's Note: This is a transcript of a talk.]