Zen Talk: Focusing on the Amazing Journey

“When you get there, there isn’t any there there.”
Gertrude Stein

This quote seems akin to the whole, the journey is better than the destination idea. We struggle so hard to get where we’re going that we neglect the amazing process that it took to get there. Once you’re there, it just is, and the fleeting nature of that there, just as happiness, can’t be sustained through a maintenance of the status-quo. Thus, just as illusive as Stein makes it seem, there is ultimately no there at all.

Is this a shame? It seems like people work awfully hard to get where they’re going only to be sorely disappointed by the arrival, but I suppose this keeps us constantly striving for more. In some people, this turns into insatiable greed, but in others, it results in a never-ending drive for self-improvement and accomplishment. I hope that over the course of my life I always fall into the latter group…

I suppose this very notion (of no there there) is why movies that are about getting some place never focus on that place but only on the journey. Think, Lord of the Rings. The entire trilogy is about a journey, and not about the final there. In fact, once the mission has been accomplished and they’re there (they being everyone) the movie degrades into a totally boring 30 minutes of epilogues that are worthless to watch. Poor Tolkein – don’t know that he had that in mind.

What are your thoughts on this quote and matter?

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