“Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.”
– Khalil Gibran
Is it possible for man to be completely selfless? A cynic may say not. But, selfless actions and thoughts are not only possible, but give a real sense of satisfaction and abiding happiness.
What do we mean by real selflessness? Selflessness means we act without thought for how we will profit or be rewarded. If we give help to others, but expect recognition or the favour to be returned, this is not a selfless action. True selflessness means we would do the action, even if it was never know to anyone else. Selflessness means we identify with others. Our service to others is not an act of condescending charity in helping others, our action is motivated by a feeling of oneness. We help others because we identify with their problems and their suffering. Selflessness is its own reward.
Benefits of selflessness
In a true selfless action we are not acting to feed our ego and receive the flattery of the world; we are not acting out of competition or desire to prove ourself to others. Selflessness means we act out of a motivation to do the right thing and help others. By definition, selflessness cannot involve inflating our ego, it does exactly the opposite.
Expands our Mind
When we act only out of selfish motives we bind and limit ourselves. Every action, we calculate how we might benefit; this attitude hinders the intuitive and spontaneous feelings of the heart. When we act through selfless motives we are helping to expand our sense of self and sense of identity. This enables us to get joy from the achievements of others; it enables us to get joy from serving others. This outlook on life is the best guard against jealousy, meanness and vanity.
Your mind’s selfishness
Is your all-exclusive individuality.
Your heart’s selflessness
Is your all-inclusive universality.
– Sri Chinmoy
Friendship and love is not like a bartering service at an auction. If we wish to love in a selfless way it means we need to identify with others. This is very different love to the human love that demands and expects things in return. Real love and friendship must involve a forgetting of self and a willingness to put others first.
Selflessness is Attractive
It is ironical that when we work for praise and outer recognition it proves fleeting and elusive. But, if we are really selfless, our sympathetic actions will definitely be appreciated by others. True selflessness is a quality that we instinctively appreciate in others.
Photo by Unmesh Swanson Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries