The Story of Gain and Loss

The paradigm of reality that is related in this article is radically different from the one that we’ve been conditioned to believe. Almost everyone, particularly in western-type cultures, has been programmed to blindly accept that they are a separate self (the little “i”) who either gains, and is, therefore, labelled a success; or losses, and is, therefore, labelled a failure. Due to this, it’s our natural tendency to judge the value of our apparent life and that of people around us by this criterion. Such could be described as a competitive way of living at best; a treadmill of despair at worst.

For many, this societal system based upon comparative ranking is the cause of many sleepless nights and an underlying stress to perform. “Yes,” says the little i-voice within us, “if i perform well enough, i will then receive what i need.” That need is usually the desire to be loved. The trouble is that this little i-voice lives a life that toggles between success and failure on a regular basis. It is a fickle phantom, inclined to whimsically praise or criticize. Any success that is achieved is eventually replaced by so-called failure. This can lead to happiness, false pride, and boastfulness in so-called winners; and their opposites in the so-called losers. An illustration of this situation is the star athlete who is happy as long as his/her career is going well. What happens in retirement, though, after the glory days are over? What then?

The compass related to the “personal” story of gain and loss points only outward or inward. In the outward direction, persons continue to believe that if they work harder, perhaps in a different arena, they will achieve the success (and, thereby, love) for which they yearn. In the inward direction, the failure-related suffering can be so great that Grace (our higher Self) appears and points us to a deeper dimension of Self, which transcends the world of the person. The majority of persons may be unaware that success based soley on outer circumstance must ultimately fall to its opposite. How could there be otherwise in an ever-changing world?

What I’m suggesting is that the quality of everyone’s worldly experience improves dramatically when we catch the thief—the egoic “i”—before it steals more of our innate joy. Being is easy. Attempting to be a “successful person,” however, is riddled with pitfalls and problems. Buddha called such Dukkha, which loosely translated means “stress” or “suffering.” When we investigate the nature of the little “i” that has been blindly chasing gains and shunning losses, we may discover—sometimes quite suddenly—that the “i” that we’ve been attempting to appease doesn’t truly exist.

In the paradigm of reality that I refer to as Truth, every person and everything flows from One Fountain of Divinity. As droplets of The Divine, each of us possesses unique talents that are intended to be expressed. We might imagine this as having dipped our ladle into the Ocean of Universal Consciousness prior to incarnation. The droplet of consciousness labelled as John Brown, might later express a talent for carpentry or the practice of medicine; while the droplet of consciousness labelled as Jane Smith might later express a talent for writing or the practice of law.

Upon recognition of the truth of our Being, we naturally transition from the competitive mindset and embrace our collective talents and abilities. Everyone is viewed as being essentially equal. No one is above or below “another;” for ultimately we realize that there is no “other.” In recognizing our Oneness, we appreciate All. When this occurs on a grand scale, everyone experiences a more peaceful and beautiful way to live. The phantom storyteller of gain or loss is nowhere to be found.

Dare to Dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2022 – R. Arthur Russell


If you enjoyed this article, you can find more of my writing at my personal blog at My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey.

12 thoughts on “The Story of Gain and Loss

  1. “Being is easy. Attempting to be a “successful person,” however, is riddled with pitfalls and problems.” – ugh I can relate to this so much! Especially when my health is involved it’s extremely hard to become successful even when I’m working hard at it. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Hello LaShelle,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment! I hope that you’ll be able to hold a positive vision with regard to health. Sending positive thoughts your way. 🙏

      1. You’re welcome! I hope that the information can truly help! Let me know if you have questions–I can offer more from various sources.

  2. Harvard social scientist Arthur Brooks talks about this in his book Strength to Strength as “success addiction.” Our brains are wired to keep amping up what the next thing and the next thing is – unless as he suggests as you do here, we find our Why. Nice post, Art!

    1. Thanks for sharing more. It is addictive, for sure. I recognized it in my writing years ago, too. It can take a while to see that if we always take a performance based mindset to everything, we can lose the joy! Thanks about the post!

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