Talking About Selflessness

Talking about selflessness is one of the big conundrums.

If I have the idea that I would like to convey it to others, I quickly see that (a) those who have a taste of it for themselves – or are firmly living it – don’t need any words, and (b) for those who have not yet had a taste of it, no amount of words are sufficient. And this is of course a reminder that when I have an urge to try to convey it in words, it is for myself – it is for my own exploration of this terrain. If other benefits, that is fine, if not, that is fine too.

It is difficult to talk about because…

  • It is so simple. Simpler than any words can convey.

    Words split the world. In the taste of selflessness, it is all revealed as beyond and including any and all polarities. Words cannot touch it.

  • It is so close and so ordinary – made of the same fabric as our conventional I-Other experience.

    The content of our experiences remain the same, but the context changes – from a sense of I and Other to it all being one field, free from I and Other anywhere. The content remains the same, only revealed as free from any inherent I.

  • It is so completely and utterly astonishing, so far from conventional I-Other experience.

    In our conventional I-Other experience, we typically place the sense of I on our human self – or a part of our human self. In this, we experience ourselves as an object in the world. As finite. Limited. A small part of Existence. At the mercy of the larger whole.

    Realizing – or noticing – selflessness, it all turns upside-down. We now see that if there is any I, it is all there is. My human self is still just a tiny and finite aspect of what is, but it is no longer an I – separate from everything else. But really, there is no I anywhere – not even as the whole. It is all happening, absent of any I. It is all a field of what is, with no center anywhere.

  • It is so complex – so infinitely rich and textured.

    It is infinitely complex, in how it shows up as a sense of I and Other, in the process of realizing selflessness, and even in the realization of selflessness itself. Many traditions have developed a wide range of models and maps, yet are – even together – just scratching the surface. There is infinitely further to go in this map making.

2 thoughts to “Talking About Selflessness”

  1. Sorry to burst your bubble, but no one is capable of a selfless act, not even Mother Theresa – deep down she did everything with the selfish motive of life after death. Not that that is a bad thing, it just cannot be classified as selfless…Jesus Christ was the last one to commit the last act of selflessness in taking on all of our sins – see Hebrews 6

  2. Yes, that seems true as well. See other posts on that topic… As long as we are identified with our human self, that is the center of all our actions and choices – and they appear what is called selfish in conventional views.

    At the same time, I can see how no one is capable of any selfish act, simply because there is no separate self or I anywhere. It seems to be the nature of everything to be devoid of any I…

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