Why not have aspirations so lofty they are impossible to fulfill? To have aspirations any less lofty would be to sell ourselves short. The trick is to keep on making effort in the direction of fulfillment of the aspiration but not to think that you will actually complete the job – and not to be dismayed or discouraged by this but instead to be encouraged by it! This is a good approach because you will always have more to do, and always be spurred on by the strength of your commitment. To commit to something you actually could accomplish is too small potatoes for a lofty sacred human being like yourself.
Norman Fischer is a poet, author, Zen Buddhist priest and former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center. Norman is founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation.