Boy howdy, we sure do talk a lot about selflessness on this website. Heck, we talk about it in everyday conversation, right? Although usually in everyday conversation, what we mean by that word selfless is that someone did something unselfish. On the surface, there is a distinction between that definition of selfless and how we use it, but since Truth calls to us from the shallows and the depths, the depth of it is hiding in the common version as well. We’ll circle back to that. First, let’s talk about how we mean selflessness.
True though it is that when we say selfless on this site we have different meanings in mind than taking an action that is not out of self-interest, or is in disregard for one’s own well-being, not all of our meanings may apply to you. It depends on where you are in oneself. (Word choice on purpose.)
Brain-self Conversion To Heart-self
Transitioning from brain to heart is one type of selflessness that can happen gradually or all at once. In fact, I’ve had it happen both ways—all at once, when I was a kid giving myself to Jesus and meaning it, and gradually, in adulthood, through positive negation. There is a lesson here: the move is reversible. Brain-self is like a blockage that must melt away to reveal self in heart. But there can be a turning back. In childhood, I turned back because the pressures of puberty and basic conformity were such that I caved. In adulthood, I turned back because I had a friend who wanted to create a politically radical TV show that sounded good, but he would only do so if I were involved. I didn’t want to crush his dream, so I said yes. Soon into our planning, the 9/11 attacks happened and I allowed him to really snap me back to “reality” to get heavily involved in politics.
Even so, unlike in childhood, by that point in adulthood, I was kundalini-alive and so while I may have lost my heart-self glow, I still had this energy alive in me, and as the doer, when I stepped out of the way. Which is to say that while there is a brain-self/heart-self fluidity, once kundalini is everlastingly awakened, there’s no completely turning back. This is the point at which, if I hadn’t been careful, I could have slipped into spiritual vanity and mutated into something horrid like a black magician or a life coach.
Dissolution & Reappearance of The Thinker
Whereas the movement of brain-self to heart-self is often gradual, the cessation of self is one transformative moment. This is where, in the absence of personal you, transpersonal you (kundalini) comes alive. And what we mean by the word “alive,” when it comes to kundalini, is that it comes self-aware in the body. Transcendental self-awareness wakes and yawns and stretches—often literally stretches—the body. It was always alive. Transcendental you is always alive, but the body does not self-identify as it right now. The body is too busy believing it is brain/heart you!
Localized Identity In Time Waking To Nonlocal Timeless Being
This waking comes in different flavors ranging from spontaneous experiences of interconnectivity with all life to self-shattering hallucinogenic trips. We’re only concerned with one. The ultimate one: waking to wholeness. Waking, that is, to the self-identity of No-Thing. (Nothingness, which is consciousness, which is being all, including the experience of being Spirit delighting in the things that comprise the all.) Unlike all of the other flavors, this waking as wholeness happens neither gradually nor at once. It happens when you are ready, but that isn’t up to you so you won’t know when that is. It’s out of your hands. I mean, all of this is, yes, but in the sense that you can read these words and “get it” deeply enough that the brain stops projecting you, you are participating in your own demise. The ultimate demise, besides physical death—and even then I wonder—is not something you can participate in at all.
Oh, you’ll see what I mean. 🙂
Wait! I can’t leave this on that tantalizing a-hole note! I promised to circle back to the everyday notion of selflessness!
Do you already see the deceiving depth underlying the notion of kindly selfless behavior? If not, it’s this: When we say someone performed a selfless act, we mean that they set their selfish impulses aside to act on another’s behalf. More extremely, sometimes people disregard their own physical safety to help another. But, notice that in order for it to be a truly selfless act, other people have to deem it such. The second you say, “I acted selflessly” you’re lying, right? And why is that? Why can’t you pat yourself on the back for being unselfish?
Well… because that’s selfish. And so truly selfless acts happen reflexively. There is no interval of time where you think about acting selflessly, weighing the pros and cons—you just act. Heroes don’t feel like heroes, because they’re too busy heroing. The value of their action is always judged by others. These are the mechanics of selfless action, and although they are performed within a limited timeframe, which makes them noteworthy, as most of are lives are spent acting with self-interest, the moments themselves are like pinpricks in time. They are timeless, spontaneous, if short-lived. They are the same moments of ego death we’ve been talking about all along, but because they are falsely contextualized beforehand as actions performed by the self, as if you can do something you-less, they have all the lasting impact of a small skip in a record that continues to play after the hiccup. They become cool stories of momentary greatness. The context anchors you.
Because we don’t live in clarity, and therefore immediate right action, when clarity breaks through, we know we had nothing to do with it. It is unfortunate that others around us jump at the chance to sing our praises, but that is how time and the self sustain: they reflexively and nervously pretend that selfless action is a choice, an action in time. And they try to convince the one who acted selflessly of her own bravery. This is promoting vanity as self-preservation.
It is so, so difficult to drop the games of thought when the games are comprised of all characters, not just your own. No characters, no games. And they don’t want to hear the call to authenticity, these other characters, so they treat clarity as a special event, put it on a pedestal, and shower the selfless actor with praise.
Now you know what the deal is with taking vows of silence in caves high up in mountains, far away from people. Unfortunately, sensory deprivation is not silence. Solitary confinement is not aloneness. And vows silence are actions taken to keep one from being silence. In this game, too, there can be only moments, quiet and fleeting.