Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Selfish Thinking is Obsolete
Once there was a time – or it at least seemed to be – that it was okay, or reasonable, to look out for “number one”. The question is: WHO IS number one? If you think it's “me”, you're only setting yourself up for one hell of a life. This late in our collective day, we only invite self-destruction by continuing to perpetuate the game of survival. We were born for a higher purpose than simply surviving! What does that even mean? To not perish. Yet if we're not in charge of the daily decisions that most impact our state of being, how alive are we?
I'll say it as plain as I can: the days of living strictly for ourselves have long past. We must live, think, and act for more than “me”, "mine”, and “my”. Selfish thinking, is simply obsolete.
There are several definitions for “selfish”, so to clarify: it's being used here to describe an individual's thoughts & actions (the two added up, summing up one's behavior patterns) when they only show consideration & concern for that particular individual. It's a characteristic common, though exclusive, to people. (Some might argue that many animals only look out for themselves, but a closer look at the integrated workings of nature indicates otherwise.)
At most, this desire to take care of one's assumed self may extend to a selected circle – family and close friends, “significant” others, perhaps – but it rarely if ever reaches beyond the people & things that are felt to be “theirs”. Let's say I'm selfish in this way. That means, essentially: anyone and anything I don't think I own, or control, doesn't matter to me – at least, not when compared to getting what I want, when I want, the way I want it. The truth is, most of us who are stuck operating on the selfish program have no idea who we truly are – and whenever the truth approaches us, we find a way to run away.
How many of us recognize that Earth itself is ours! But not as our personal property and plaything; then you run into problems of politics and portions. It's actually much simpler, and deeper. The Earth, is us. And we are each other. Any form of life residing on this planet, with mass and spirit, is, to some degree, family. That also means everyone who eats is a cannibal, including you vegans! So let's put all things in a greater perspective. The phrase “One Life, One Love” isn't poetry; it's reality. When viewed under the vision of totality, there is only one life out here. And, it's the same life that is in you and I.
We are residents of an age that has made it abundantly clear, to anyone even remotely aware and paying attention, that the degree to which we look out separately for our own interests (and they are not, ultimately), is the degree to which we suffer, as we have been for so long. I can't be the only one who's noticed – where I live at least, on any given day you are very likely to see: closed off, hurt, fearful, untrusting, loud, damaged, hateful, angry, bitter, confused people, rather than: content, quiet, satisfied, peaceful, calm, relaxed, humorful, mindful, conscientious, receptive, open, and genuinely joyful people. The joy that shines from the inside – not that forced projection of forced smiles, and manufactured laughter that's often put on display for public consumption, to cover up true feelings. Ironically, the source of perpetual unhappiness and distress for most people, is the unrelenting prioritization of that thing we call “me”.
With this same life in all of us, and all that we know, it seems fair to assert that every individual existence is significant, and serves a purpose. With that in mind, it becomes clear that to perpetuate the kind of thinking that focuses on “me” - a “me” that is not in a balanced state of being, and is prone to self-justification of questionable actions – is not only detrimental to that particular “me”, but the basic quality of life itself. This self-interest, is a problem then. I don't think it is appropriate, or responsible, to mention a problem without offering a solution.
For the sake of maintaining a reasonable reading length, this entry will be continued next week with Part 2: practical ways to shift one's behavior patterns from “me”, to the whole self – as well as everyday examples of how much what we each say, think and do does matter, and impact everyone and everything alive. And also, how being less selfish inevitably leads to more joyful and productive lives.
I wish everyone well.