Why You’ve Got to Be Selfish Before You Can Be Selfless

It’s common knowledge that acts of selflessness are better for the soul than acts of selfishness.
Do unto others as you would like them to do to you. We’ve all heard that the path to spiritual enlightenment starts with kindness and acts of selfless service. But, have you ever thought that perhaps you’ve got it all wrong?
What if those selfless acts are actually making you selfish? And, what if being selfish is really a good thing?

What if being selfish is really a good thing?

According to the Yoga Sutras, a spiritual text that dates back to 400 BCE, being selfless does make you selfish. In explaining this Sutra, the author Swami Satchidananda says, “That’s why sometimes I say the selfless person is the most selfish one. Why? Because a selfless person doesn’t want to lose his or her peace and happiness.”
However, this requires a certain amount of self-mastery and non-attachment that can only come from spending time alone practicing yoga and meditation. Sutra 15 in book 1 states, “The consciousness of self-mastery in one who is free from craving objects seen or heard about is non-attachment.”
Do you ever notice that some people walk into a room and light it up? Every time they come into contact with you, you feel better. You feel expanded, lighter. This happens for one of two reasons. They either naturally have a strong presence or they practice some form of meditation (or both).
Meditation centers you and fills you with light because the purpose of meditation is to connect you to the source of light, God, the universe, etc. (insert whatever term you feel comfortable with here).

The more you meditate or focus on developing your self worth, the less time you will want to spend with toxic people and situations because you’ll want to protect your light.

In a way, you are being selfish because you’re essentially trying to keep that state of peace and happiness you found in your meditation, which is why this alone time and ‘selfishness’ is a great thing!
When taking time out for yourself, you might find that you ultimately end up with more energy and positivity to give to those around you.

How is this possible?

The purpose of meditation is to connect you to the universal life force. When you meditate, you not only feel more grounded and centered, but you also become more centered and light. That light permeates onto everyone you come into contact with. It becomes contagious.
The same way that laughter is contagious, so is meditation. When you take the time out of your day to focus your mind and expand your light, you not only end up shifting your attitude but also the attitude of everyone around you. Those few moments of alone time (i.e. selfishness) can entirely change your world.
So, the next time you feel like things might not be going your way, remember that even a small amount of time spent alone in meditation strengthens your self-worth and expands and changes your world and the world of everyone around you.
How about that for a selfishly selfless act?

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Rachel Galperin

Rachel Galperin is a writer and producer living in New York City. She can be found at www.rachelgalperin.com


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