essays on suffering and awakening

Are we just collecting trophies?

Yesterday, I found myself torn between cleaning my shower and writing a new blog post. The shower needed tending to—in a major way—but I found myself hesitating. I wanted the satisfaction of being able to point to a new blog post and say, “Look, I did this.”

Eventually, motivated by a colorful growth between some of the tiles, I got to scrubbing. But I felt uneasy. “What have I really accomplished today?” I kept thinking.

I wonder at this need to justify my existence. I also think I’m far from alone in falling under its sway. How many of us strive to collect lines on our resumes, to check off boxes on our lists, or build self-glorifying mausoleums out of our social media profiles?

Such pursuit of a platform to stand on can certainly keep us busy. But it’s also worth taking a pause, and noting that whether or not we think we deserve to be here, here we are. Whether we’re good enough or not, we’re present and we’re part of it.

If all the building ourselves up doesn’t really matter, what then is worth our attention and effort?

Ian Cooper