Being halfway selfish is painful.
I eat something my tongue says is good, and my body feels bad. I keep something for myself, and others notice and keep things to themselves. I try to protect myself through a white lie, and experience stress and tension.
In short, I act on a very limited notion of what is good for me and who I am in the world.
It is much better to be 100% selfish.
When I am completely selfish, I take the bigger picture into account. I think longer term, and in terms of my relationships with others and the wider world. I ask myself, what is really good for me? What will meet my most essential needs? I act in ways that meet my own needs, and also the needs of those around me, and even for the larger social and ecological whole, because I know there is no separation there.
The way I relate to the wider world is how I relate to myself. And also, the way I relate to the wider world has consequences, and I will have to live with those consequences – in my mind and in my life.
There is another question here. What is this self I am selfish about?
Yes, it is this human self – in relationship with others, a seamless part of the wider world.
And it is also this field of experience inherently without an I anywhere.
And is it true it is possible to not be selfish?
When I look, I find that whatever I do, I do for myself, whatever I take that self to be.
If I take this self to be isolated and separate, then that’s the self I am selfish about. (The conventional meaning of selfish.)
If I take this self to be in intimate relationships with others, to mirror the wider world, and to be seamlessly embedded in the wider world, then that’s the self I am selfish about.
And if I recognize this self to be the Self, the play of awakeness, inherently free of an “I” with an Other, then that’s the self I am selfish about.
I also see that selfishness is a good thing. It is what keeps our species alive, and us as individuals alive. It is that which propels us to always strive for something better, whatever we think of as better. It is that which motivates us and gives us passion to take care of this self, whether we see this self as small and isolated, in intimate relationships with the wider world, or as Ground or Big Mind. I wouldn’t want to be without selfishness, in whatever form it takes in the moment.
Reminder: Don’t Be Nice, Be Real by Kelly Bryson – highly recommended.
Note: Some use selflessness as a pointer, and it is valid and helpful. For me, it feels more real and juicy to talk about it as complete selfishness.
- 100% selfish
- big perspective
- do what is good for me – relationships, food, any choice
- bad food etc, only half selfish
- 100% selfish = good for others as well, even if not the purpose/reason/intention, b/c includes wisdom/heart/larger view
- ongoing exploration, question – what does it mean to be 100% selfish here, does it feel right, do I make excuses?
So my question for myself is, what is completely selfish in this situation?
– good to explore what selfish means
— notice, all i do i already do for myself
— if narrow selfish, then doesn’t feel good, leave something out
— so explore a bigger selfishness, a more real/honest form of selfish – actively explore
— if think that selfish is not good, then may prevent oneself from this exploration and the freedom and clarity that comes with it
– complete selfishness and selflessness, same thing
– selflessness, can be a “should”, ignoring ordinary/healthy human desires, etc.
– complete selfishness, can also be misunderstood, but is at least more juicy and goes to the same place