Ever since I started graduate school I’ve been trying to run away from it. I keep telling myself, “I want to serve people. I don’t want to be paid by the military. My research isn’t going to matter to anyone. I’m just buying time until I find a better path. I’m just here because as a student I can keep meditating.” I’ve been investing just enough effort to stay under the radar but now I’m wondering if I should invest the time to be a great scientist.
There is no doubt that early on in my practice Vipassana took a lot of time and energy. It took some amount of courage to sit each morning and evening and some amount of recovery time afterwards. Some difficult things had come up in my life, so I knew when I sat that I would need to face painful thoughts and sensations. That needed to be my focus. Now with a more established practice, my meditations are more natural and energizing. After being inside of myself for a few years it feels like it’s time to get out in the world.
I’ve always wanted to serve people and humanity but my understanding of how to do this has shifted. I no longer need a title like “food bank supervisor” to convince myself that I’m a good person. Instead, I just need to live a moral life while producing high quality work. I’m doing myself, my advisor, and my school a disservice by producing mediocre work. As long as I’m in school I want to be the best scientist that I can. At least I want to give it a try. Time to meditate.