Progress is an illusion

This post might be too ‘out there’ and radical for you. At first, it was a little too ‘out there’ for me.

A few days ago my boyfriend and I were watching my new favorite television show, Fringe. (I know it’s not new but it is new to me.) During the episode we were watching a book, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him, was referenced. The lovable nerd that he is, my boyfriend set out on a bit of research on said book. (With a title like that how could you not?)

His research led him to a particular blog entry that I’ve read countless times since he emailed it to me. The blog entry briefly touches on what the book is about and offers 43 truths: ‘an eschatological laundry list.’

Truth #22: Progress is an illusion.

At first, I was vehemently in disagreement with this ‘truth.’ (The blog post points out that when something snags your fabric of belief you should pay attention.)

“Progress is not real?” I thought, “Progress is the whole point. Progress is why I am working my ass off, why I’m pushing myself so hard, why I’m my own boss and going back to graduate school. I exist to become a good, better person.”

Then, it hit me: progress is an illusion. (Here’s where I blast off to ‘out there.’)

I am not progressing. I am not regressing. In this moment I am entirely me. Since birth, I have been entirely me. I am perfect and whole in my existence and I cannot get any better; I cannot improve.

My purpose here is not to progress to a certain point. I am already there; I am already my best. My purpose here is to realize my inherent potential. We are here to peel back our own layers to get to our own heart of hearts. As Buddha and so many other spiritual teachers (including the guy who wrote If You Meet the Buddha On the Road, Kill Him) have taught us, the most significant battles are waged within the self. Your mom was right, it is what’s inside that counts.

If we were born cognizant of our inherent potential I don’t think life, the mechanism that it is, would do what it is supposed to do: allow us to grow into our true selves in a piecemeal fashion. Our job is to unlock what we’re made of one step at a time. All that great stuff is already inside. The truth is that we’re humans and we’re rarely ready for the whole truth at once. And I think our brains would just melt in recognition of our God-given talents, capabilities and spirits anyway.

So I guess what I am telling you is that progress is an illusion. You were born awesome and can’t ever be anything but awesome.


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