Does it pay to be selfless and unattached?


Whatever you do in life attracts those conditions to yourself. If you set the example of selfishness, people will practice selfishness on you. Self-preservation is an instinct, but God gave you memory, intelligence, and imagination to understand the difficulties of others. True happiness lies in helping whoever crosses your path.

Avoid evil selfishness, which is the root of all troubles whether individual or national. First came bows and arrows to protect one person’s selfishness against another person’s selfishness. Then guns were invented, then machine guns, and now there are poisonous gases. There will be more and more suffering until mankind realizes that national selfishness is just as evil as individual selfishness.

We really do not own anything. We are only given the use of things for a short while. Inevitably, the time will come when we will have to part with everything, either by accident, theft, deterioration, or death.

Let your supreme goal be to make others happy in order to gain happiness for yourself. Never think that you are acting unselfishly. Always think that you are doing things for your own pleasure, and that you find your highest pleasure in making others happy. Remember also that you cannot teach the principles of unselfishness to others unless you first practice unselfishness in your own life.

The true Self is the manifestation of Spirit within. Anything that you do for the true Self, for Spirit, could be called “sacred selfishness.” Sacred selfishness consists of those actions by which the pure image of the Self within can be realized. Evil selfishness is that which you do for the ego, thus going against the true interest of the Self.

“Love God with all your heart,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” You will need no other commandments if you follow these two.

From Inner Culture, December 1939.