In this letter Swami Kriyananda responds to a devotee who expressed self-doubt and discouragement from having made a serious mistake in the performance of his duties.
I’m sorry to hear about your discouragement. It’s the negative side of humility to feel inadequate, to doubt one’s abilities. You have much humility, and the humbler we are, the better God can work through us.
It’s right and true to recognize one’s own fallibility—true strength and guidance come only from God. Only egotists glory in their own cleverness and ability and, in the process, they shut God out and fail in the end.
But there’s another side to this, too. To feel inadequate is one thing, but to feel badly about it or to take too personally other people’s criticisms is possible only because, despite your humility, there is some ego involvement left. Otherwise you would feel joy in your nothingness and in God’s “everythingness.”
The whole secret lies in simply accepting that nothing in this universe, least of all ourselves and our personalities, is really ours. The less attached we are to our problems, the less they exist. And the way to become less attached is by meditation, prayer, and selfless service, with no desire for the results of our own actions.
Don’t identify with your little failings. Do your best to see God as the Doer, and to realize that it is His power that you call into being when you serve Him in humility and faith. Whatever skills you have, feel that these are God’s way of manifesting through you. He will use you to whatever extent you let Him.
Above all, pray always that God’s will be done. Then leave the problem of success or failure in His hands.
When we have faith in God, everything turns out for the best, but we also have to bear the burden of our own karma. Our faith can mitigate this but not necessarily change it altogether.
My love and prayers are with you. Your aspiration is the Infinite, and your sincere devotion will surely lead you there.
In divine friendship