In this podcast, Amadon DellErba talks about the virtue of selflessness over “self-love” and the dangers of #selflove becoming selfishness. In the world of social media today there is tremendous emphasis on self-love and little-to-none on selfless service to our brothers and sisters. What is lacking in our culture that we have to focus on loving ourselves so much? Could it be the constant messages from various forms of media implying we are not good enough, smart enough, rich enough, skinny enough, good-looking enough, cool enough, etc.
Drawing on concepts and quotes from The URANTIA Book and the life of The Master, Amadon points to the root problem that we are not living today in a culture of love and acceptance, and that the true nature of this concept of “self-love” is more about the desire to have self-worth and self-esteem. Our consumer culture tries to supplant this desire with a focus on taking care of one’s self, but the true path to achieving the highest form of “self love” and self respect is the path of selfless service; of being our brother’s and sister’s keeper. Amadon says, “Unselfishness ennobles the soul and sharpens one’s spiritual intelligence, and most importantly brings peace to the heart, and fills a person with meaning and joy.”
We must ask ourselves… what is lacking so much in our culture, that we have to focus on loving ourselves so much? I think it's because now more than ever, the constant message being sent through media is that we are not good enough. Smart enough. Rich enough. Skinny enough. Good-looking enough. Cool enough, et cetera. The fact of the matter is, we are not loved enough.
“Nothing You Do Matters Unless What You Do Matters”
I’m Amadon DellErba and this is “Get Real or Die Trying”
How we doing tribe? Back in the Get Real or Die Trying studio here. Today is episode 33. I'm talking about “Selflessness Over Self-love.” You know, we live in a world today where there's a lot of emphasis on self-love and not enough emphasis on unselfish service. Individuals who commit to living a truly spiritual, and religious, and God centered lifestyle, will very soon come to the realization that selflessness is a guiding principle to strive for. And unselfishness is one of the first stepping stones to living a spiritually aware lifestyle.
We live in a world where selfishness is a dominant personality flaw, rather than selflessness, and rather than self-forgetfulness. And to make matters worse, now, more than ever, there’s been an overload of rhetoric and promotion of the concept of “self-love.”
This term has been dominating the supposed “woke” keyboard-warriors and athletes, or social media millennials who think they are life coaches, because they figured out how to make 5K a month living from their sprinter van and have a few hundred thousand followers on social media. So now they can enlighten us all about the concepts of optimized living, freedom and happiness, et cetera.
It's really amusing, actually. You see, I'm a millennial too, and I'm here talking about optimizing our lives as well. But I think the difference is, is that what I have found has worked for me in my life and has been taught to me by great spiritual elders with wisdom. And so I attempt to share what has seemed to work in my pursuit of self-mastery of the spirit and soul, which in essence maybe is similar to someone else making a post from a mountaintop somewhere with a nice little selfie pic and writing their witty and well thought-out caption about how to crush life… But you see, you have to discern the difference for yourself.
We must ask ourselves… what is lacking so much in our culture, that we have to focus on loving ourselves so much? I think it's because now more than ever, the constant message being sent through media is that we are not good enough. Smart enough. Rich enough. Skinny enough. Good-looking enough. Cool enough, et cetera. The fact of the matter is, we are not loved enough. We are not living in a culture of love and acceptance.
Thus, we have to go to the imbalance of “self-love” because we are not accepted and we have to learn to accept ourselves. You see, if you accepted yourself and were comfortable in your own skin, as is, there would be no need for intentional time to try and accept yourself constantly; you just would. You would not need to justify loving yourself through needed acts of taking care of your wellness. That should just come naturally. But society has gotten so out of balance, you have to put a hashtag “#selflove” anytime you do something for yourself. Or the imbalance is all that you do is serve yourself. So we're out of balance.
You see, I feel the true nature of this concept of “self-love” is more about the desire to have self-worth and self-esteem; to be a whole and developed personality so that you can help others. What we're seeing all over social media though, is people attaching this concept of self-love to their photos of hanging out on the beach. Many people are making the mistake of attaching a high spiritual virtue and value to a lower selfish act, in an attempted justification. And this may not even happen consciously. You see, selfishness corrodes the heart and mind circuitry. While unselfishness ennobles the soul, and sharpens one spiritual intelligence, and most importantly brings peace to the heart, and fills a person with meaning and joy. Is this not all that we humans are looking for when we chase those sunsets and climb those mountaintops… a sense of peace and inner fulfillment?
I know there is a time and place for taking a break, and self-love, and recharging, and rejuvenating, et cetera. But to operate in this state every day and to promote a lifestyle where all you do is build a life around you and loving yourself constantly, is a mistake. And that's what I'm seeing all the time in social media and these supposed self-help coaches and so forth. A much higher pursuit is the act of service to others; being truly other oriented. And when you get yourself out of the equation, you can commit your time, energy, and consciousness to help others. The great thing is, when you do this, you are inherently actually helping yourself as well, because it fills you up inside to help other people. And this is because self-absorption exhausts the soul, and a self-centered mindset actually decreases your consciousness. It shrinks your awareness, you know, and even makes you narrow-minded. Did not the Master say, “The greatest among you is the servant of all”?
The URANTIA Book speaks to the selflessness that I'm trying to attempt to explain here in this passage:
“When the spiritual tests of greatness are applied, the moral elements are not disregarded, but the quality of unselfishness revealed in disinterested labor for the welfare of one’s earthly fellows, particularly worthy beings in need and in distress, that is the real measure of planetary greatness.”
Now to me that's basically saying the measure of one's greatness is really proportionate to how much they labor for the welfare of their fellow brother and sister, and particularly those in need and distress. Now notice the word “disinterested” that was in that URANTIA Book passage. That reminded me of a quote by Woodrow Wilson. He says, “The only thing that saves the world is the little handful of disinterested men that are in it.” Now think about that for a minute. The selfish pursuits of man have led to so much destruction of the Earth’s resources and humanity at large. So a man must be truly disinterested in himself to preserve the greater things around him.
And while Jesus was ordaining the 12 apostles, The URANTIA Book says that he spoke these words: “Unselfishness is the badge of human greatness.” That's a big one right there. And my father and spiritual teacher, Gabriel of Urantia, says:
“An unselfish society creates a network of cooperation and non-competition that adds to the total good of all of all of its members who look at each other as brothers and sisters, as opposed to just other citizens who challenge us in production, the arts, and governing; which in reality should be family management.”
So how do we live this unselfish life? How do we meet the day with direction to serve others? This, to me, has to do with having a purpose. “What does it mean to live a purpose driven life,” you may ask? When you have a true purpose, your life choices are often guided by attaining that purpose. Many good servants of mankind practice this through true altruistic pursuits, like volunteering with nonprofit organizations and non-governmental organizations all over the world, and serving the disenfranchised. Now, this is an obvious example, I know, but there are many ways to do this. Being missionaries and volunteers is certainly purpose-driven, and other-oriented, their purpose is to serve others.
Recently I've had several old friends and acquaintances make comments like, “Well, I'm just trying to figure out what to do with my life” or, “I'm so bored right now.” Wow. I really cannot relate to this because my life is so full of purpose. I can hardly keep up with all the things I'm trying to achieve. My response to them was really, “You should go find somebody to serve.” I truly believe that humans must have something bigger than themselves to engage the spirit of thriving beyond just surviving. Men and women who operate in God-consciousness know that to give is to receive. So ask yourself, what do you receive by taking a selfie on the beach in your bathing suit, and then writing a nice little inspired, capturing about self-love and self-worth. Who are you really helping? Who are you serving? How are you evolving and growing by doing this?
The URANTIA Book asks this question and explains it very beautifully. It says:
“Is unselfishness—the spirit of self-forgetfulness—desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast.”
What a beautiful quote. Again, it says “mortal man must live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor.” So we must forget ourselves. We must stand toe to toe with our ego and challenge it. We must become disinterested in self. It truly is courageous and bold to enter into this realm of self-forgetfulness. The Mahatmas and sages of time have done it. But in today's modern world, it is increasingly difficult to do. It takes work and intention.
Again The URANTIA Book illustrates it here in this passage:
“Unselfishness, aside from parental instinct, is not altogether natural; other persons are not naturally loved or socially served. It requires the enlightenment of reason, morality, and the urge of religion, God-knowingness, to generate an unselfish and altruistic social order. Man’s own personality awareness, self-consciousness, is also directly dependent on this very fact of innate other-awareness, this innate ability to recognize and grasp the reality of other personality, ranging from the human to the divine.”
So right there it's saying, really, without spiritized thinking in God-consciousness, we don't naturally think about and have true concern for our other fellow human beings, really (besides when you're a parent, you do... your children) but it takes that work. It takes that commitment. It takes intentional spiritualized progress; the evolving of self.
Our own self-consciousness is glorified and substantiated, made whole and made powerful by the abandonment of self, by the act of abolishing selfish desire each and every day from our hearts and replacing it with higher thoughts, first, and then action to serve others. Because it starts in our thought life. And then through discipline and spiritual practice, we translate it into action.
In closing, I leave you with this quote from Swami Vivekananda:
“Truth, purity, and unselfishness wherever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition.”
So believe in yourself, my friends. Practice self-forgetfulness. Practice self-awareness. Practice genuine, true other-orientedness. You see, you will feel whole, you will feel self-love, the more that you serve others, the more that you give to others. The rhetoric, the constant barrage of social media and the garbage that we see all the time about self-gratification, self-love, self-this, selfishness, needs to stop and we need to pursue a lifestyle of other-oriented, unselfish service. And I'm talking to myself here, this is for everybody. And of course, young people, we grow up and we are products of the world around us. We are products of the messages that are piped into our consciousness all the time. So we have to unlearn, rewrite, relive, and rework the pages and we can do it. Peace out y'all.
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"Get Real or Die Trying with Amadon DellErba" is a production of Global Change Media.
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