We believe that there is always room for self improvement. That is not true. That belief is a natural response to our basic state of discontent. When we live our lives through our egos and feel the essential suffering of life, we cannot help but imagine that we could be better people. We could be stronger, smarter, faster, better looking, happier, nicer, or more enlightened. Changes in our circumstances do not improve us, they just change how we imagine ourselves.
We live in a world that is centered around us. We see out of our eyes and we walk on our feet. We develop an idea about who we are that is constantly measured against some ideal that we are not. We see beautiful, admirable characteristics in people all around us and we want to possess those characteristics. We imagine that if we possessed those characteristics, our discontent would go away. We imagine that, because we do not possess those characteristics, we are not as good as we could be. We either feel despair that we cannot experience the ease of life that others seem to enjoy, or we constantly feed the desire to improve ourselves.
If we stop feeding the desire for self improvement and take a good look at what and who we are, we can appreciate our circumstances as they are. When we understand that we are not our circumstances, that understanding will not improve us or diminish us, it will just mark another step in our journey.
If we don’t worry about becoming smarter, happier, and nicer, we give our intelligence, joy and kindness the opportunity assert themselves. When our joy and kindness express themselves in all that we do, the universe will not improve, it will just continue to flow, changing and changing.