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Old 11-01-2012, 04:08 PM   #1
eye
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Everything we do is selfish, no exceptions!

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Last edited by eye; 02-22-2014 at 01:27 PM.
 
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eye View Post
-mother loves child -> so that the child can live in their name -> so that they feel 'ok' about inevitable end, death (i hope this makes sense)
and more-over at the end of the day love is a 'feel-good' emotion -> smile -> happy -> happy chemicals go off in brain -> reward
I find this Absurd, A mother can raise a child because they love them and want them to grow and develop and be near to God. I wouldn't see that as a selfish act but a act out of love.

Just an example you could give a homeless man food with two motives:
One would be to make yourself feel better and feed your ego because you think you are doing good,
another would be because you have empathy and just out of love would do it because it would bring joy to someone else's heart and in turn you would also feel joy. Although this person would feel joy their motives behind doing the act is not to seek joy for themselves.
 
Old 11-01-2012, 04:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eye View Post
A friend of mine suggested to me that everything we do as a person is selfish in some way or another. I tried to give him many examples but at the end, he showed me how it was still selfish.

examples:
-feed your pet -> you want it to live -> for company/play
-mother loves child -> so that the child can live in their name -> so that they feel 'ok' about inevitable end, death (i hope this makes sense) and more-over at the end of the day love is a 'feel-good' emotion -> smile -> happy -> happy chemicals go off in brain -> reward

i can think of so many...

My question: can anyone give me an example of something that is truly not selfish in any way at all? I can't seem to...

I'm not saying that we are wrong by doing this, it's just an interesting observation. I do however realize that life would almost not exist if we were not programmed to look out for own self-interests.

Thank you
I hope someone can give me one...

eye
I have heard this argument before. What I think it forgets is the value of what it is we are doing. I have 2 cats, I keep them up on their vet appointments, feed them, buy them toys, buy them automatic water feeders, and cat litter. It's EXPENSIVE! Are they really worth the cuddle time and entertainment? Why don't I just buy two stuffed animal cats and cuddle with them? That woudl be so much cheaper. Do these cats really love me or are they just selfish animals themselves that only like me because I feed them?

Yes I do like watching them and getting a kick out of their behavior, but is it financially worth it? Really? I have to say it, no it's not worth it. So why do I do it? I care about animals, I don't want animals to suffer, so I take care of 2 cats, maybe your friend would say that taking care of 2 cats absolves me of my own feelings of guilt and helplessness to do anything about all of the suffering animals in the world. That would be dumb I think and very irrational.

Maybe ask your friend if she has any contact with her family? Are they worth it? Family can drive you insane, so why does she do it? Is it worth it? Would she be better off without them? What is the "return on investment" on her own family?
 
Old 11-01-2012, 04:43 PM   #4
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This is quit an enlightening observation, and ultimately selfless acts are rewarded, but if we do them with the reward in mind we don't recieve it. For example if you gave money to charity purely with the intention of feeling good about doing it, the feeling wouldn't occur. However if you wanted to help those who are less fortunate, with no other intention, you would expereince a good feeling. In reality we are more likely to have a mix of these two examples, however its possible to push either to the extreme, and those seeking perfection should develop the latter.
 
Old 11-01-2012, 04:45 PM   #5
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Wow! Freshman year college philosophy, I remember studying the guy who philoshophised (? xD) about that, it all just came back to me. But it's a school of thought, and with philosophy, no one is right. Interesting though, especially the dog one. Is that why I feed my dog? Not usually, I do it because I feel sorry for her that I eat whatever I want whenever I want, and she just has to sit around and wait. :'( All hungry and cute and sad...

BRB going to feed her.
 
Old 11-01-2012, 05:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhang View Post
Wow! Freshman year college philosophy, I remember studying the guy who philoshophised (? xD) about that, it all just came back to me. But it's a school of thought, and with philosophy, no one is right. Interesting though, especially the dog one. Is that why I feed my dog? Not usually, I do it because I feel sorry for her that I eat whatever I want whenever I want, and she just has to sit around and wait. :'( All hungry and cute and sad...

BRB going to feed her.
I feed my cat homemade food because I want the best for my cat for its own good. I think for my own good (cudlling, playing, etc) I could buy a sack of feed and have all of that on less money and effort. But honestly, I hate this as an example of pure altruism. Here are some better ones.



A mother perishes in a fire so that her child might live...



A brother gives a kidney, that he might oneday need for himself to stay alive, to his sister so she won't die now...


Jesus died on the cross so that mankind might attain eternal life


Baha'u'llah suffered chains and inprisonment that mankind might attain true liberty



I'm sure there is more. Pretty much any situation where someone ends his self for someone else should hold up to being selfless. But I think there is a flaw in the logic that "if something makes me feel good doing it, it cannot be selfless since I if gain pleasure, pleasure must be my motivation." It is very possible for someone to do something out pure altruism for someone else, and the other persons well-being being the only thought. It maybe true that almost always someone well get some degree of pleasure in this, even our writings say so, but this feeling encourages such behavior in us it doesn't necessarily drive it. If someone helps another simply to feel good, this is selfish but if a person helps someone out of no thought but that person's well-being, then this is selfless. If the person feelings good also, that is a knockdown effect and not the cause, so it is selfless.

Last edited by Fadl; 11-01-2012 at 08:45 PM.
 
Old 11-01-2012, 08:40 PM   #7
eye
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@DistinctDreamer
Quote:
bring joy to someone else's heart and in turn you would also feel joy
Selfish.

Quote:
Although this person would feel joy their motives behind doing the act is not to seek joy for themselves.
You can only comment from a conscious level, which is only a tiny part of you, but another topic for that later...(from this book for those who can't wait Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain: David Eagleman: 9780307389923: Amazon.com: Books)

My opinion on your comment: it ultimately is selfish.

Quote:
Maybe ask your friend if she has any contact with her family? Are they worth it? Family can drive you insane, so why does she do it? Is it worth it? Would she be better off without them? What is the "return on investment" on her own family?
Interesting question...I have thought about it ofc. Think of the difference between identical twins (same everything), except one never had any contact with people and the other did. Now things that a child learns from others apart, there will be major differences in their brains.

There was a girl that was locked in her room till she was some age (13 or something), anyways they found her and they studied her brain. The report said that she was intelligent but she could not grasp simple things such as obviously language, but she also couldn't 'connect' things - she could not identify patterns if that makes sense. I will search for the link soon, just Vbusy atm

So once again in my opinion, unfortunately it's still selfish when it comes to love and your family. But what i'm trying to say is that there is nothing wrong with this, I just wish more people would accept it so they can strive to the 'lowest degree of selfishness attainable'.

Like i said love is selfish. How does love make you feel? Which do you prefer to feel love or hate? My point is not that love is bad however...please don't mis-interpret me.

Love is really a beautiful thing. Thanks for the examples Fadl:
Quote:
A mother perishes in a fire so that her child might live...



A brother gives a kidney that he might oneday need for himself to stay alive, gives it to his sister so she won't die now...


Jesus died on the cross so that mankind might attain eternal life


Baha'u'llah suffered chains and inprisonment that mankind might attain true liberty
Thanks for all the answers guys. My question has been concluded.

Feel free to carry on the discussion or close the thread, I'll be here.

Good day all
 
Old 11-01-2012, 08:45 PM   #8
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Oh one last comment: to everyone who is giving examples to dispute my statement, thanks!...but, I was just thinking to myself when reading some of them, seemed like y'all are trying to prove it false so that you don't feel 'bad' about the implications thereof, just wanted to say -selfish!

haha just kidding guys XD
 
Old 11-01-2012, 09:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by eye View Post
Oh one last comment: to everyone who is giving examples to dispute my statement, thanks!...but, I was just thinking to myself when reading some of them, seemed like y'all are trying to prove it false so that you don't feel 'bad' about the implications thereof, just wanted to say -selfish!

haha just kidding guys XD
Perhaps the reason we jump to reject it, is that although there may be considerable evidence to support the claim, it nevertheless has a ring of untruth from the core that his hard to express yet worth exploring. Maybe the root of it lies in intention, something which is very important in our faith to the extent that even doing something ostensibly good can be rendered worthless when spoiled by bad intentions. Many of these 'bad intentions' could be considered selfish. I will give two examples from the Kitab-i-Aqdas:

1. "Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty." (K4)


Here we find a command to do what we are commanded because we love God. On reflection, this flies in the face of selfishness, for the reason to obey God is not the common reasons we commonly state such as "it makes sense (for me)", it is good for us (and me)", "it for the sake of justice (I will be protected from injustice)" etc., etc. But if we are faithful, we understand that the reason for doing anything in our faith is not the benefits that they bring, but because we are asked to obey as a sign of our love. That means we should even do the laws that don't make sense or we perhaps feel are not so good for us. Then it is the selfless act, and that may bring us joy too, but so long as our goal is not the joy but the love, then it is the right intention and selfless.



2. "Were anyone to wash the feet of all mankind, and were he to worship God in the forests, valleys, and mountains, upon high hills and lofty peaks, to leave no rock or tree, no clod of earth, but was a witness to his worship -- yet, should the fragrance of My good pleasure not be inhaled from him, his works would never be acceptable unto God." (K36)


Is this not a mindblowing statement? One could literally live a life of good works that is ultimately in vain when the intention is wrong. This verse really encapsulates what it means to me to walk the spiritual path, which demands one to become selfless and God conscious in everything we do. What a challenge!

But I do concur with you, that probably most of what we do in reality can be boiled down to some selfish impulse. That it is different than saying every act is always selfish, or that it is not possible to transcend selfishness because I think we can, even if most of us aren't great at it.
 
Old 11-01-2012, 09:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
1. "Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty." (K4)


Here we find a command to do what we are commanded because we love God. On reflection, this flies in the face of selfishness, for the reason to obey God is not the common reasons we commonly state such as "it makes sense (for me)", it is good for us (and me)", "it for the sake of justice (I will be protected from injustice)" etc., etc. But if we are faithful, we understand that the reason for doing anything in our faith is not the benefits that they bring, but because we are asked to obey as a sign of our love. That means we should even do the laws that don't make sense or we perhaps feel are not so good for us. Then it is the selfless act, and that may bring us joy too, but so long as our goal is not the joy but the love, then it is the right intention and selfless.
Very well put Fadl. Although I myself too am still struggling to accept this absolutely (my statement), hence why I made this topic...The Faith was what I was trusting most to deliver your message. Lovely interpretations!

And so finally there is a message to this topic after all...The True Source of selfish selflessness (haha i hope that makes sense).
 
Old 11-02-2012, 08:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eye View Post
A friend of mine suggested to me that everything we do as a person is selfish in some way or another. I tried to give him many examples but at the end, he showed me how it was still selfish.
My, what excellent sense of selfishness this one has

I merely wish to add my humble suggestion to our friend, that this person should perhaps, avoid extrapolating the meaning of words by grossly exaggerating the intended usage?

Let's look at these individual examples.
Quote:
examples:
[1] -feed your pet -> you want it to live -> for company/play
[2] -mother loves child -> so that the child can live in their name -> so that they feel 'ok' about inevitable end, death (i hope this makes sense) and more-over at the end of the day love is a 'feel-good' emotion -> smile -> happy -> happy chemicals go off in brain -> reward
1. The subject of the impulse can be "duty", to simply feed the pet. Next "I want it to live", therefore there is "compassion". And lastly, "friendship".

Selfish would be the inverse, with "I want to play" as the subject of the impulse, there is no sense of altruism, and the impulse is susceptible to violence e.g:
I want to play -> annoy pet
I want to play -> attack pet

It may not even involve the pet, simply any activity that fulfils the prerequisites of the individual's instinctive nature of playfulness. On the other hand, selfishness may also reflect in false compassion, e.g.
I want to play -> feed pet

2. Selfishness is contingent upon love. That is, there cannot be selfishness without love, but there can be love without selfishness. The "emotions" and "chemicals in the brain" are a very arcane aspect to individual reality, and cannot be so easily attributed to "selfishness". Nonetheless, given these examples, it should seem straight forward.

Allah'u'abha
 
Old 11-02-2012, 08:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Zhang View Post
Wow! Freshman year college philosophy, I remember...
Me too, extremely useful courses.

It's one of those subjects where the less people know the stronger their opinions. Other examples are like medicine, economics, climate-- so many people we meet that have never cracked a book and are still convinced that they've attained the ultimate truth about the subject.

I'd have thought that as Baha'is we'd know better, but there's no getting around the fact that our community is made up of human beings. So I guess I can live with that. Not that I've got a choice...
 
Old 11-02-2012, 09:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Pete in Panama View Post
Me too, extremely useful courses.

It's one of those subjects where the less people know the stronger their opinions. Other examples are like medicine, economics, climate-- so many people we meet that have never cracked a book and are still convinced that they've attained the ultimate truth about the subject.

I'd have thought that as Baha'is we'd know better, but there's no getting around the fact that our community is made up of human beings. So I guess I can live with that. Not that I've got a choice...

Nowadays, if you ask a kid, "if a tree falls in a wood and nobody is there to hear it does it make a sound?" he will tell you, "who cares?"

What is the world coming to? Why, if Sir Newton had had an attitude like that, he'd never have discovered apples. I hope Christ comes back soon...isn't he due in about another 700 years or so?
 
Old 11-02-2012, 11:05 AM   #14
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Dear brother/sister Eye


Quote:
"...Preserve a loving attentiveness to God with no desire to feel or understand any particular thing concerning him. Be interiorly detached from all things and do not seek pleasure in any temporal thing, and your soul will concentrate on goods you do not know. Love consists not in feeling great things but in having great detachment and in suffering for the Beloved. All for you and nothing for me. Detached from the exterior, dispossessed of the interior, disappropriated of the things of God-neither will prosperity detain you nor adversity hinder you. The soul that desires God to surrender Himself to it entirely must surrender itself entirely to Him without keeping anything for itself. The soul that is attached to anything, however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of Divine union. For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for until the cord be broken, the bird cannot fly...Every pleasure that presents itself to the senses...must be renounced and completely rejected. Strive always to prefer, not that which is easiest, but that which is most difficult; Not that which is most delectable, but that which is most unpleasing; Not that which gives most pleasure, but rather that which gives least; Not that which is restful, but that which is wearisome; Not that which is consolation, but rather that which is disconsolateness; Not that which is greatest, but that which is least; Not that which is loftiest and most precious, but that which is lowest and most despised; Not that which is a desire for anything, but that which is a desire for nothing; Strive to go about seeking not the best of temporal things, but the worst. Strive thus to desire to enter into complete detachment and emptiness and poverty, with respect to everything that is in the world, for Christ's sake...Desire to have pleasure in nothing. Desire to possess nothing. Desire to be nothing..."

- Saint John of the Cross (1542 – 1591), Catholic mystic

Can you tell me where the Catholic mystic is being "selfish" above?

I can asure you that genuine love, especially for God, is not in any way pleasurable. Anyone who has passed through what Catholics call the "Dark Night of the Soul" is purified from all sense and emotional feeling and pleasure in one's love.

The Dark Night of the Soul is a phase which people who have come to spiritual maturiry go through, when they feel utterly forsaken by God, absolutely miserable, with no "nice feelings", no comfort, no pleasure from faith or good works. It is complete, excruciating spiritual, emotional and mental agony. At the end of the experience the person is purified from all attachments to emotion, sense, feeling and thoughts. It is the ultimate state of union with God wherein they rest in Him devoid of any "great feelings" or pleasures or sense perceptions or emotions in a state of imperturbable Nothingness.

The Dark Night separates the wheat from the chaff. Those who cannot endure it, may lose faith altogether because what they desire is not actually to praise God but rather to experience the pleasure and comfort which the idea of God and faith brings them.


Quote:
"...WITH respect to the fourth sin, which is spiritual gluttony, there is much to be said, for there is scarce one of these beginners who, however satisfactory his progress, falls not into some of the many imperfections which come to these beginners with respect to this sin, on account of the sweetness which they find at first in spiritual exercises. For many of these, lured by the sweetness and pleasure which they find in such exercises, strive more after spiritual sweetness than after spiritual purity and discretion, which is that which God regards and accepts throughout the spiritual journey...For some of these persons, attracted by the pleasure which they find therein, kill themselves with penances...These persons are most imperfect and unreasonable...it would probably be more profitable for them not to engage in these exercises at all...They are, in fact, as we have said, like children, who are not influenced by reason, and who act, not from rational motives, but from inclination. Such persons expend all their effort in seeking spiritual pleasure and consolation; they never tire therefore, of reading books; and they begin, now one meditation, now another, in their pursuit of this pleasure which they desire to experience in the things of God. But God, very justly, wisely and lovingly, denies it to them, for otherwise this spiritual gluttony and inordinate appetite would breed innumerable evils. It is, therefore, very fitting that they should enter into the dark night, whereof we shall speak, that they may be purged from this childishness. These persons who are thus inclined to such pleasures have another very great imperfection, which is that they are very weak and remiss in journeying upon the hard road of the Cross; for the soul that is given to sweetness naturally has its face set against all self-denial, which is devoid of sweetness..."

- Saint John of the Cross (1542 – 1591), Catholic mystic

This leads to the highest form of prayer - Contemplation:

Quote:
"...John gives three clear signs that a person’s commitment to prayer is leading them into this night of sense: First, everything feels dry. The soul does not get any satisfaction or consolation from the things of God, or of creation. Second, because in the past the memory would naturally turn towards God, the soul now thinks it has lost its love for God and is going backwards. Third, in spite of all effort there is a powerlessness and inability to meditate and make use of the imagination. God no longer communicates to the soul through the senses but begins to communicate through pure spirit, in the spiritual senses of the heart, in simple contemplation where there is no discursive succession of thought. The exterior and interior senses feel nothing. As we orientate ourselves to this deeper call to intimacy, it is essential that we do not give up prayer, but simply remain in loving attentiveness centered in our heart which is in God, even though we don’t know it, and feel wounded and disorientated. This takes us to a whole new commitment to identify with our Beloved who is wounded in love for us, not seeing, not feeling our Espoused One, but simply remaining loving our Beloved in quiet solitude. The night of sense unfolds into a night of spirit...John likens this encounter at midnight to the annihilation of soul Christ experienced when, without any consolation of the presence of God, he cried “My God my God why have you forsaken me?” [Mt27:46] (2A7.11). In this existential cry into all that is absurdly nothing, the tears of the Wisdom‐Word, which are the tears of all creation, transform all suffering. In his cry the Wounded One places a bond of union where God feels most absent. He becomes the archetype for the wound of suffering to be the wound of love. He exemplifies how we may be totally detached and free in both sense and spirit from all things, and be nakedly one with pure Wisdom. John shows how in this annihilation, our Beloved becomes the door‐way to contemplation. He becomes the abyss of love that holds us as we undergo the annihilation of our spirit and surrender into the same act of love. John reassures that in the cry of abandonment, in voiding all images in a kenosis of unknowing, God infuses us. We are: “transformed into simple and pure Wisdom, the Son of God” (2A15.4). John explains how in this experience of being reduced to nothing, the soul enters into the highest degree of humility in union with the spouse. No longer mediated by imprecise senses, feelings and ideas, union through, with and in our Espoused One, is an accomplished fact, even though the intellect dies not know it. The soul enters the nada (nothing). The nada (nothing) that is all...John likens this encounter at midnight to the annihilation of soul Christ experienced when, without any consolation of the presence of God, he cried “My God my God why have you forsaken me?” [Mt27:46] (2A7.11). In this existential cry into all that is absurdly nothing, the tears of the Wisdom‐Word, which are the tears of all creation, transform all suffering. In his cry the Wounded One places a bond of union where God feels most absent. He becomes the archetype for the wound of suffering to be the wound of love. He exemplifies how we may be totally detached and free in both sense and spirit from all things, and be nakedly one with pure Wisdom. John shows how in this annihilation, our Beloved becomes the door‐way to contemplation. He becomes the abyss of love that holds us as we undergo the annihilation of our spirit and surrender into the same act of love. John reassures that in the cry of abandonment, in voiding all images in a kenosis of unknowing, God infuses us. We are: “transformed into simple and pure Wisdom, the Son of God” (2A15.4). John explains how in this experience of being reduced to nothing, the soul enters into the highest degree of humility in union with the spouse. No longer mediated by imprecise senses, feelings and ideas, union through, with and in our Espoused One, is an accomplished fact, even though the intellect dies not know it. The soul enters the nada. The nada that is all..."

At these heights one feels "nothing" either physically or emotionally. It is beyond all exterior or interior sense perceptions. It is complete selflessness. It is to use Baha'i terminology, "The Valley of Absolute Poverty and Nothingness". Can you find 'selfishness' in 'Nothingness' where there isn't even any awareness of 'self?


Thoughts?

Last edited by Yeshua; 11-02-2012 at 11:32 AM.
 
Old 11-02-2012, 11:27 AM   #15
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Here is another Catholic's mystic description of the spiritual path in 3 stages: the first what brother/sister Eye might call "selfish" love of God consisting in "feelings", the second the excruciating dark night and then Nothingness:


Quote:
"...Now we intend to talk about the three stages that a person can be at - the lowest, the middle, or the highest. The first stage of an interior virtuous life that leads one directly to close proximity to God happens when a person turns to the marvellous works and signs of inexpressible gifts and effusions of the hidden goodness of God. Out of this is born a state of soul called jubilatio. The second stage is poverty of spirit and a strange abandonment by God that leaves the spirit tortured and naked. The third stage is the transformation to a divine-like existence, into a unity of the created spirit with the very being of the spirit of God. This one can call a conversion to an essentially higher plane. And one cannot imagine that those who right reach this stage could ever fall away from God.

(1)In the first stage, that of jubilatio, a person becomes intensely aware of the dear signs of his love that God has marvellously given us in the heavens and on earth, how marvellously much good he has done for us and all creatures, how everything blossoms, sprouts forth, and is filled with God, and how unimaginable the generosity of God has inundated all creatures with his great gifts and how God has gone searching for him, showered him with gifts, carried him, advised him, waited for him, cared for him...and to what inexpressible nearness he has invited him, and how the most Holy God has expectantly awaited him eternally so that he might be filled with joy forever. And when a person experiences this fully through loving insight, there is born in him great genuine joy. The person who perceives these things with genuine love is so flooded with an interior joy that his frail body cannot contain this joy and erupts in its own way...And in this way our Lord showers him with great sweetness and gives him inwardly an embrace and palpable union. Thus does God lure, pull and yank a person, first of all out of himself, and then out of all dissimilarity to himself...

(2) The second stage is like this: When God has drawn a person so far away from all things, and he is no longer a child and he has been strengthened with the comfort of sweetness. Then indeed one gives him coarse rye bread. He has become a man and has reached maturity. Solid, strong food is what is good and useful for a grown man. He shouldn't be given milk and soft bread any longer, and such is withheld from him. He is then led on a terribly wild path, very gloomy and forsaken. And on this path God takes back from him everything that he had ever given him. Then and there the person is left so completely to himself that he loses all notion of God and gets into such a disstressful state that he cannot remember whether things had ever gone right for him, so as not to know any more if he were ever on the right path, whether he has a God or not, nor does he know if God does or does not exist, or if he is alive or dead and whether he is the same person; and he suffers such incredible pain that this whole wide world is too confining for him. A very strange sorrow comes over him that makes him think that the whole world in its expanse oppresses him. He neither has any feeling for nor knowledge of God, and he has no liking for any other things and even all the rest seems repugnant to him, so that it seems that he is a prisoners between two walls. It seems to him that he is suspended between two walls with a sword in back of him and a sharp spear in front. What does he do then? He can go neither forward nor back. He can only sit down and say, "Hail, bitterer bitterness, full of grace!" If there could be hell in this life, this would seem to be more than hell - to be bereft of loving and the good thing loved. Anything that one might say to such a person would console him about as much as a stone. And he could stand even less hearing about creatures. The more the sense of and feel for God stood formerly in the foreground, the greater and more unendurable are the bitterness and misery of this abandonment.

Even then take heart! The Lord is certainly nearby. Hold fast to the support of the true living faith. Things will be fine. But it is unbelievable to the poor soul in its tortured state that this unbearable darkness could ever turn into light.

(3) When our Lord has prepared a person in this unbearable state of misery - for this prepares him much better than all the spiritual practices that all people might be able to accomplish - then our Lord comes and leads him to the third stage. In this stage the Lord removes the cloak from his eyes and reveals the truth to him...In this stage the Lord leads a person out of himself into himself...God thus draws the person out of his human mode into a divine mode, out of all misery into divine security. Here a person becomes so divinized that everything he is and does God does and is in him. And he is lifted up so far above his natural state that he becomes through Grace what God in his essence is by nature. In this state a person feels and is aware that he has lost himself and does not at all feel himself or is he aware of himself. He is aware of nothing but one simple Being.

Children, to be truly in this stage is the deepest ground of genuine humility and annihilation. This, in truth, cannot be grasped by the senses. For here he receives the most profound insight possible into his Nothingness. Here he sinks as deep as it is possible into the ground of humility; the deeper, the higher, because here high and deep are one and the same...In this state one achieves true unity of prayer spoken of in the epistle that truly brings it about that a person becomes one with God..."

- Johannes Tauler (c.1300-1361), Catholic mystic and Dominican
 
Old 11-02-2012, 03:29 PM   #16
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Religion is not about becoming unselfish, for everything we do ultimately is about our own survival. There is even a scientific equation which details acts of kindness as merely an evolutionary advantage. The man that positioned this actually tried to disprove it after becoming Christian, but found it impossible and eventually killed himself. I forget his name, but it is really an interesting theory...

No, instead, religion is about discovering the true nature of the self. When you come to realize all is one, that all our qualities which create our disgusting traits are actually for the advancement of that one, we realize why "all is good". It is only a matter of wrong understanding, but when self is understood to be all embracing, the wrong understandings are no more there. Anger and hate are to protect our self, it becomes directed at protecting the planet. Greed is the refusal to accept we are puny things, oneness shows we are the whole thing. It goes on and on, but none of it is without purpose when seen in a right light. Selfishness is not the root of any evil, ignorance to our true nature is.

I understand all want to think themselves altruistic, but there is no such thing. Instead, embrace your full nature without identifications of any kind, gradually you become in tune with this flow of life.
 
Old 11-02-2012, 03:35 PM   #17
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Die to love.

All wrongdoing, all unrighteousness is about our wrong understanding of love. When we love only the subjective, much will come which can be called evil or sin. When we drop this identification, when love embraces the object and subject equally, only good and virtue arises.

Love is dangerous when it is partial, when it is directed, but when it is total, when it is whole, when it is all embracing... well, this we call divinity. This is our true purpose in life, to perfect love in ourselves, there is no other reason, and no other motivation behind any action. The only difference is the understanding, the criminal loves his family and life so is willing to act against you to provide for them. The sage loves all because it is... that isness is God.

Edited because I wrote love instead of life, and yet what we call life is only a particular journey which love is taking right now. What a beautiful Freudian slip :P

Last edited by Lunitik; 11-02-2012 at 03:39 PM.
 
Old 11-02-2012, 03:51 PM   #18
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I feel to say something else:

Humility is not to be confused with being unselfish or as the opposite of arrogance... many saints have competed for being most humble, but it is not the thing at all.

True humility is exactly this dropping of identification with the subject. This is accomplished merely by seeing that all subjective phenomena - thoughts, sensations, whatever - are still objects which you are aware of. It is difficult to realize any separation between you and these phenomena because they feel very intimate. Just remember that the very fact you can observe them means they aren't you already...

Without identifying with anything which is arising, merely enjoying the show before you as if it is happening on the TV screen of consciousness is also a very dry and unrewarding thing though. This is why Baha'u'llah assures you the world is to be enjoyed by you, and it is why many Buddhists teach that lack of attachment isn't all that is necessary, you must also be careful about indifference and aversion. The key is to be totally in what is happening now, give yourself totally to this moment, and then move on when it is no more the case.

Looking back is attachment, not wanting what is happening now is aversion, indifference is a lack of totality, a division of being. Each is as unhealthy as each other.
 
Old 11-02-2012, 04:39 PM   #19
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I find it hard to accept this mindset as from my understanding even if our intentions are pure it is still considered selfishness, so from that I conclude that we are selfish creatures and therefore sinners?
The writings say that we are born Noble, so I can't see how the two would correlate.

O SON OF SPIRIT! Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created.

Baha’u llah
 
Old 11-02-2012, 09:24 PM   #20
dash
 
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Something I forgot to add earlier, is that I don't think selfishness necessarily means anything and everything that concerns self. Selfishness is placing self above others or not caring about others at all and having the self as the only or primary concern.
 
Old 11-09-2014, 05:33 PM   #21
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Could someone explain to me why feeling good about being able to help someone is selfish? So only if we curse our opportunity to be of help are we unselfish.....
 
Old 11-09-2014, 07:28 PM   #22
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by becky View Post
Could someone explain to me why feeling good about being able to help someone is selfish? So only if we curse our opportunity to be of help are we unselfish.....
Becky - I would not try to explain that to you

This is currently The way I see it,

That service to others, Happiness, Good Feelings, sense of Purpose are all products of Submitting to the Will of God.

The reward is in those actions themselves, the positive result of the actions bring about those feelings.

What we are to do is thank God for those feelings, as all these actions and results are of God, not our Material Selves.

Any action based on our Material self ultimately brings about a decline of the positive results.

Is this how you see it?

God Bless and Regards Tony
 
Old 11-09-2014, 08:24 PM   #23
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Thank you, Tony. That IS how I see it! Some postings, I just can't seem to wrap my simple mind around!
Loving regards,
Becky
 
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