Monday, May 11, 2009 you are me and we are all together

A common form of enlightenment is described as the feeling of transcending the self and experiencing being one with every other living thing. This is, literally: being selfless.

I've always thought of the word "selfless" as meaning the self doing things for others, and in return the self is allowed to feel good for what it has done. But to be truly selfless, or without self, there is no distinction between what is you and what is others. There is no personal feeling of having done good, only the feelings that others have. So you don't need to do things for others only for the return feeling you get for yourself, you do things for others because you can share in the happiness they experience from it. If you truly believe "we're all in this together" (to quote a friend), then having good happen to others can feel good to you and to all.

Also, we don't need to do things for others to be able to share in their feelings. This may seem selfish, but I don't think it is. We should do things for others to uplift their mood and the collective mood, but we shouldn't feel obliged to first "earn" a share in that collective mood. Similarly, we're allowed to feel good about ourselves whenever we want to, without having to first "earn it" through some task or chore, as if one must deal with oneself like a bratty kid who cries until he gets candy.

If you were to simply stop seeing others as competition, and trusted in the idea that any benefit to anyone is a benefit also to you, would you experience that feeling of oneness? Can you simply choose to feel it? Is enlightenment as easy as that?

Michael... you sound like you're on drugs.
- Mom


LL said...

The world around you is a reflection of YOUR reaction to the world around you.

When you get your head around that one, you'll be a lot closer really understanding enlightenment.

Michael Devine said...

Interesting, puzzling. I'll have to think about that one.