“Everyone of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self…We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves. Contemplation is not and cannot be a function of this external self. There is an irreducible opposition between the deep transcendent self that awakens only in contemplation, and the superficial, external self which we commonly identify with the first person singular. Our reality, our true self, is hidden in what appears to us to be nothingness…We can rise above this unreality and recover our hidden reality. ― Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
“I do not like the idea of happiness — it is too momentary. I would say that I was always busy and interested in something — interest has more meaning to me than the idea of happiness.” -Georgia O’Keefe
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. -Robert Frost, poem “The Road Not Taken”
As this excellent article points out, research and age old wisdom reveal two paths to a “good life.” They’re both centered around the idea of losing your attachment to self.
One. Pursue mastery in something, anything. Throw yourself fully in to it for nothing more than the thing itself. Flow.
Two. Devote yourself to helping others.
Here’s the cool thing about art for art’s sake, making art from the heart…when you do it right, both paths converge.