Ideal paths, transcendence and empty vessels

Every now and then I think it’s nice to hit people with something genuine, so don’t be too worried if this slap seems much too honest. It will keep you on your toes, I swear. Now, I don’t know why I chose to do this because it’s going to be significantly harder. The only thing that previous posts involved was loosening my word filter and writing. Absolutely, no thinking involved. Today, however, we’re going to slide into my other persona. Don’t worry you’ll like him. I share a lot of the same interests with him (between you and me, he’s kind of dull).

With that introduction out of the way, let’s get started.

I feel like moral quandary is necessary throughout life. Not to keep us vigilant but to recenter our views. When a big decision needs to be made, we grind to halt and begin to question EVERYTHING. However, this is only the life changing choices. Every time you make a choice, unknowingly, you are straying (or following) your ideal path. It’s common knowledge that every day you make a lot of decisions and it’s very unlikely that any of them will be groundbreaking. The smaller choices, naturally, only have a negligible effect. It’s only when a big hurdle looms ahead of you, do you consider how to best approach it.

This is the point where you realise you haven’t been using your moral compass.

Your moral compass contains all of your views and ideals and why would you need that for choosing a cereal? During day to day life, it doesn’t seem necessary to keep your eyes fixed on the compass, so you place it snugly inside your rucksack. However, the line between small and large decision can become blurred. Without your compass, you’ll find yourself at a landmark or a choice, in this case, which shouldn’t be there. First off, you ask yourself, “What do I do here?” and then the more important question. “How did I end up having to make this decision?” With your ideal path far away in the distance, all you have is a moral compass which is useless now and a dark path to tread.

This is why questioning is good because, despite popular opinion, there is an ideal version of yourself. When you try to get better at something, you are actively trying to reach that state of transcendence. Well, not exactly transcendence. Some sort of perfection. And yes I am aware that ‘nobodies perfect’ but you’re not reaching for perfection, are you? It’s the ideal you. Now, some people could call this pointless and … you’d be right. Honestly, you could compare this to ANY other pointless activity and you’d be right. Think about it, however. What other pointless activity has such a positive effect? If you’re not trying to remedy your weaknesses than what do you have? A lot of faults. What about when you’re striving to be better? You still have the faults but it’s the approach that’s essential. You feel it too, right? It’s that warm glow that originates around your stomach and blossoms into a smile. Not the feeling of completion. No. There is no closure or completion in dealing with your weakness because they are bottomless. Then why? Well, the more you understand and work with your weaknesses, the closer you get to knowing yourself. I mean, there’s nothing more essential than that. There’s a reason why “who am I?” is a philosophical question. It’s a concept that changes. It’s fluid and when your perception of the outward world changes, so does your perception of your inner world. So maybe there is a concrete answer to who am I. Maybe. We just can’t look at ourselves in a way that’s objective enough. Naturally, we also can’t look for a second opinion because… well.

 

How can self-improvement possibly help us to know ourselves?

Isn’t the objective to change?

The easiest explanation can usually pass us by and this explanation is right in front of us. What did you choose to improve? Was it athletic grace? Literary talent? That’s a piece of you. The more time you sink into something your passionate about, the deeper it sinks into your identity. And there’s no arguing that you chose what you’re passionate about. And how will you know if you didn’t? You’ll feel restless and unhappy. You’re mind has a very easy way of telling you things and often we overlook them or dismiss them. 

Why am I unhappy?

You’re in the wrong setting. Doing the wrong thing. However when you find that thing that resonates with you, you’ve uncovered a shard of your identity. Congratulations. As this trait slowly embeds itself, it will eventually reach your core and… Well, you’ve found a piece of the puzzle. A piece of yourself. There is a lot of things that self-improvement isn’t. It’s not longing to be something your not. It’s longing to be you. When you attempt self-improvement from a different angle and pursue it for vanity or envy it will not work. You will end up cobbling together disparate ideals which will leave you as a patchwork, inauthentic human. This is when we are most unhappy. When this vessel that we pilot around doesn’t agree with the mind. The vessel may look sleek and beautiful but it’s empty. An empty vessel. The real person having fled from this cobbled, pretty monster. There’s a reason why people who aren’t happy with themselves are always searching for the next pleasure. There is no stopping or self reflecting because what would they find? This is the scary thing about self-reflection. When you explore in the real world you’re always going to find something new. However, when you’re exploring in the depths of yourself? It’s not going to be something new. It’s not the joy of discovery. It’s the joy of rediscovery.

What was the point of all this? Well, this is what keeps me going. Considering I’m quite introspective, I’d have a hard time if I was anything less than genuine. So I strive to improve. Ironically, only when you strive to succeed can you slow down and be content.

Appreciate yourself. Then appreciate the world. 

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