In the beginning of one’s spiritual journey there is a want and need to serve others because outwardly this seems like the right thing to do, and also inwardly it feels right. In the last stages of spiritual growth one spends all his or her effort serving others with almost no awareness that you are serving – think of Mother Theresa. In the middle of one’s spiritual journey there is a definite need to selfishly focus on one’s Self, the spiritual journey, meditation – becoming who you ought to become. This is the right kind of selfish.
Very often feelings arise… like, “I’m just not happy. I need to work on myself A LOT, and until I do, I won’t be able to truly help other people.” And, “I want to make big strides in my own spiritual growth and that’s going to take a lot of effort, so I need to dedicate some time to my Self.”
These thoughts and feelings arise due to the lack of satisfaction a person receives EVEN THOUGH he or she may be serving others. Why would someone be dissatisfied even though they are serving others? Because they are serving others with the intention of receiving material and/or spiritual benefit. The ability to truly serve others WITHOUT expectation is an extremely high spiritual state.
Of course it’s like the classic advice we get in airplanes, “Secure your own mask first before helping others.” In a spiritual context, helping other people instead of helping yourself may be the easy way out. Less truth to face, I guess.
One reason individuals don’t become the right kind of selfish is that they aren’t aware of HOW to help themselves. These days religion satisfies almost no one. Religion’s miserable results are plain for all to see. On the other hand, in my own experience when I observe a person learning about a meditation system which they can actually understand and practice, I see the light bulb above their head turn on because they actually understand WHY they need to put a lot of effort and time into their own ‘Self.’
We can all agree that each of us only has a limited amount of time to live, right? Your time is precious. And when you spend time on anything, you are literally giving up your life for that activity. So in reality, you are already “giving up your life” for various things. Are they good things?
The big questions is: What do the wisest individuals tell you about how you should spend your time/life? Maybe the answer for you right now is to be a little selfish and dedicate yourself to your Self. I don’t see how that could lead to any bad results…