"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others" said the Mahatma. But to serve others means that we are trying to improve their situation. So clearly, we are making several judgment calls here in trying to improve others and improve ourselves.
What about seeking inner transformation (or external transformation)? Do we have to thru a phase of observation first? Or in practical terms, do and master vipassana (insert any other technique with similar goals(?!) here) and then step out?
My experience in -- doing what JK says -- "interested in watching your child, your wife, your plants, the trees, the birds" is different. Watching a child, i am trying to ensure they are protected (looking around for danger) and ensuring they have the richest experience (tweaking their environment). And learning from their actions and reactions too. And often times with condemnation/approval. I can't say i have been in communion with the observed -- bird or child.
My interest increases when i can interact, influence and be influenced. It reduces when i just watch, for example a group of rocks.