The limited understanding we have of being selfless is of sacrifice. When someone asks us to become selfless, we can only think of all the things we will have to let go. It comes as a very negative phenomena and we would like to stay away from it. Another disadvantage we think is that someone will take undue advantage of us. We also fear that people will not give us the importance that we are receiving now. All this is true and we all have the same feeling until we understand the real meaning of selflessness.
The problem of today’s world is that we have given the power of religion in the wrong hands. We listen to anybody who proclaims him or herself as the messenger of God. This happens because we never try to understand the truth on our own. We completely rely on all those dharmgurus who themselves does not understand the religion. It is easy to give the responsibility to someone else for our spiritual life so that we can relax and can focus on our material life. Because of this ignorance of ourselves and of all those religious leaders we have the wrong understanding of being selfless.
So what is being selfless? I know very little of this concept and hardly I have realized or practiced it in the real life. However, I do not have any negative feelings towards it. I look at it like a normal behavior which we all have forgotten. It means that we give the service to human kind without expecting anything in return. Many people might have understood or followed the first part of it “service to human kind” and very few people actually follow “without expecting anything in return”. And, that is the main key of being selfless.
We give some part of our income to charity and all the religions ask us to do the same. The only problem is that we expect something in return. We expect that people recognize how charitable we are. We would like our names to be written on the walls of the temple. We want to publicize our charity through printed names or through social media. Do you think that is the real meaning of service? Consciously we might not accept, but subconsciously we want the appreciation for the good work or service we gave. It implies that we are doing it for our self. By no means I am saying it is wrong. The world is a better place because all of them helped many people. I just want to say that this is not being selfless.
I do not write because I know stuff. I write because when I stumble upon any topic, I learn something. Similarly I was thinking who could be the best example to explain being selfless. First, I thought of legions like Gandhiji or Mother Teresa. But, then I thought that we always believe that they were great people and we can never become like them. We appreciate their qualities, but hardly implement anything in our own life. Then, I realized that the best live example is around us only. They are none other than parents.
We all know that what our parents did to give us good life. They have forgotten so many of their own desires so that we can live happily. I have seen many women who gave up their career so that they can take care of their kids and they do not see this as any sacrifice. They do all these because they have unconditional love for their kids. Some would argue that parents does all this because they want the support in old age. I believe that is the least we can do, but that is not why they do it. Otherwise, why would so many parents in this world would get ready to live in the old age home. All they want is the happiness of their child. Giving up everything for the sake of unconditional love is the real meaning of being selfless.
We discussed what is it, but then why should we become selfless. I am very happy being selfish and that is what all I want. Agreed, but let us look at from a different perspective now. The answer is in the name itself. When we become selfless, we let go of who we are. We keep aside our ego and our identity and just focus on the service we give or the help we provide and that is the way to be with God. We search for the God in temples and in idols, but the real God lives in all of us. We do real prayers when we help the other human beings. We all are spiritual person and the only way to connect with God is through this inner dimension.
The highest of all is this unconditional love and we can only experience it when we let go of ourself and become selfless.