Our education, our environment, our whole culture insists that we must become something. Our philosophies, our religions and sacred books all say the same thing. But now I see that the very process of becoming something implies envy, which means that I am not satisfied with being what I am; and I want to understand what I am, I want to find out why I am always comparing myself with another, trying to become something; and in understanding what I am there is no need for discipline. In the process of that understanding, integration comes into being. The contradiction in me yields to the understanding of myself, and this in turn brings an action which is integral, whole.
If you study Japanese art, you see a man who is undoubtedly wise, philosophic, and intelligent who spends his time how? In studying the distance between the earth and the moon? No. In studying the policy of Bismarck? No. He studies a single blade of grass. But this blade of grass leads him to draw every plant and then the seasons, the wide aspect of the countryside, then animals, then the human figure. So he passes his life, and life is too short to do the whole.
The philosopher Diogenes was sitting on a curbstone, eating bread and lentils for his supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, "If you would learn to be subservient to the king, you would not have to live on lentils." Said Diogenes, "Learn to live on lentils, and you will not have to cultivate the king."