Obviously selfishness causes all kinds of problems in ourselves and society and the world. It is a kind of love, but a very limited kind of love that can be cruel to others because its compassion is limited to only the self. Most of us are not purely selfish – that dubious honour is reserved for only the most undeveloped or traumatised of us. However for most of us there is a limit to our love where we become a little selfish, there are at least corners of egotism. Look around at the political leaders of the world, how many of them seem truly good people? So few. But how important it is that truly good people can lead and guide us.
The obvious conclusion would be that we need selflessness. People who care more about others than themselves, and people who have completely lost their egotistical nature, who have destroyed or given up on their egos. This however is not a reasonable request. It is not really possible, and if this is the direction that we aim then we will never achieve it, and our situation will be all the worse. Aiming for unachievable goals creates a stress that leads often to the opposite of what we are wanting to achieve. Aiming for true selflessness leads people to pretend to be selfless, or to be very critical and spend their lives in seclusion because they realise they are not good enough to serve in an egoless fashion. And this means that our leaders remain the least developed and most selfish of all – who do not realise their own flaws. It also means that we can never truly step into our own power – our own expression of self actualisation – of serving the world in our own natural way.
What is possible? Not selfishness, or selflessness, but self-fullness – not removing the ego, but rather expanding it and creating a greater sense of self. When we expand our sense of who am I, then we expand our love with it, and in the end when we identify with all, then our ego is expanded, not destroyed, and we achieve Self-fullness. We still do everything out of self interest, but as that self interest incorporates the interests of everyone else (being all part of that self) then we have a generous form of self interest. In effect selfishness and generosity become one and the same thing.
People who achieve this form of enlightened self interest become very powerful agents for change, because their work in serving and making a difference is not done out of the rather weaker force of idealism, but out of the strong heartfelt desire to serve, and strengthened by the joy that is received in that service.
Seek not to lose your self, but rather to find it. In this we will be set free.