That statement is of course generally true, in terms of getting ahead in this competitive, materialistic culture of ours. And in the past, years ago, when I would hear this maxim, I honestly didn’t think anything of it. It was a given, with exceptions of course, but one where the exceptions prove the rule.
But when I heard it now I knew of course that while the statement may be true in one context, it is absolutely not true in the larger spiritual context. In that context, good guys finish first.
In this maxim, “good guys” would be defined as those who are kind, considerate, thoughtful of others. Those who would not harm another in order to get ahead in life.
In the spiritual context, finishing first would be defined as freeing oneself from suffering, purifying the heart and mind of all foreign impressions … all emotions, judgment, cravings, and attachment that are a product of the ego-mind … that are not found in the heart. It is to be free of the control of one’s ego-mind. Finishing first is living in harmony with oneself and one’s surroundings and being in touch with beauty.
While being a good guy does not necessarily imply being on the spiritual path in a formal sense, it does indicate a natural spiritual quality which, while not freeing oneself from all suffering perhaps, allows one to live life with a certain peace, a certain relaxation, which is a blessing.
It may not be nirvana, but the good guy has found a way to relate to himself and the pressures of our modern life which does not denigrate his humaneness. I would say that’s something pretty wonderful, regardless how one got there.