He was high on top, but he came crashing down. He had garnered the admiration and celebration of millions, but he was abruptly stripped of his accolades, his endorsements, and his royal privileges. He took the dope, lied about it, and paid a big price.
The story of Lance Armstrong is a quintessential portrait of a man's fall from grace. I recently watched a documentary called Stop at Nothing, which chronicles his mercurial rise to international fame and fortune, followed by the crippling blows of truth that halted him in his tracks.
Being in recovery from drug abuse, I am able to deeply empathize with Armstrong's choices and misaligned ambitions. As I clearly state on my website, it is my contention that bhakti (desire for God/truth/liberation) is underneath all addiction, and that purity is at the core of all surface impurities. Therefore, I don't see Armstrong as an evil villain, per se, but more as an intense competitor who strayed off the path of nobility and integrity in pursuit of excellence. It's a mistake that I've made, but on a much more minuscule and inconsequential scale, obviously.
Lance Armstrong used drugs to enhance his athletic performance; I used drugs to chase transcendence. Our goal of acceleration and improvement was understandable enough, but the methods with which we sought achievement were ultimately detrimental. Fortunately, there is a solution, and that solution revolves around truth.
Truth is an eternal thing. It can only be eluded for brief stints, but one way or another, we will get sucked back into our sensibility about what is true, and what is real. After drifting into the murky realms of counterfeit and deceit, we must eventually return to the home base of a clear mind and a still heart.
There is an insightful YouTube video (https://youtu.be/c96qIK5uwNg) that analyzes several depositions and interviews in which Armstrong was blatantly lying about his history of doping. The analyst points out some key signs, or in poker language—"tells"—that reveal Armstrong was bluffing his case and misrepresenting the cards he was truly holding. Armstrong's words conveyed one message, but his body language told an altogether different story. The subtle, discerning eye of the YouTube detective is able to reveal the incongruent patterns that mark Armstrong's angle of deception.
I never got analyzed by a detective, but life itself set me straight, and continues to do so when I stray off course. Collective consciousness has an array of self-correcting mechanisms that are constantly being deployed to keep us all in check. It's called karma, or cause and effect.
Beyond karma is stillness, which is the instrument of all causes and effects. Therefore, to access stillness is to rectify and salvage all wrongs in a way that is permanently transformative. I'm sure Armstrong will realize this in due time, and will act accordingly—elevating his level of performance to greater heights than doping ever afforded him.
Come on in, the water's fine. :-)
The higher power is in us.