This Is It

Self-improvement? How about some self-realization first? From Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn, in the chapter "This Is It":

New Yorker cartoon: Two Zen monks in robes and shaved heads, one young, one old, sitting side by side cross-legged on the floor. The younger one is looking somewhat quizzically at the older one, who is turned toward him and saying: "Nothing happens next. This is it."

It's true. Ordinarily, when we undertake something, it is only natural to expect a desirable outcome for our efforts. We want to see results, even if it is only a pleasant feeling. The sole exception I can think of is meditation. Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are. Perhaps its value lies precisely in this. Maybe we all need to do one thing in our lives simply for its own sake.

(cf. Bennett on Stoicism (1999-04-29), For Themselves (2003-06-08), Nothing Happens (2005-10-08), Emerson on Self Improvement (2006-11-05), ...) - ^z - 2008-11-14