Originally posted by Shadowflux
Through out history much emphasis has been placed on the concept that an individual should lead a morally upstanding life, that one shouldn't do bad
things or bring harm to others and that one should work towards enlightening those around us. This has always seemed to be a fundamental objective of
most religious or ethical belief systems and has been billed as the goal of those who wish "to lead a good life".
Common decency, kindness to others, selfless service, respect, love are the hallmarks of a healthy society and civilization. Without it, this world
would be living hell.
They are also a path to personal spiritual enlightenment.
However, it looks like two aspects are missing from your equation.
1. Service to others without deteriment to yourself
. If you do not serve yourself, you have no energy, money, time, attention to give to
others. Only making a point in treating others kindly without treating yourself kindly will exhaust your resources and exhaust your mind.
2. Kindness and Selflesness are not done with a gain in mind. If one is kind because one expects some gain from it, that is not true kindness. If one
is selfless in order to gain merit, that is not true selflesness.
However, I feel that it is quite possible there is no purpose to leading a "moral" life, that there is nothing to be gained from helping those that,
more often than not, are mainly concerned with themselves.
Two distortions imo: 1. Seeking gain for being a good person 2. Thinking that kindness and selflesness needs to involves loving that which is no good.
With experience comes a sense of discernment where to best invest ethical behavior and where not to. You cannot "save the world". By being the best
you can yourself be, you are doing the world a favor. By thinking others require your help you are extending pity rather than kindness.
I've always tried my best to be kind, understanding, and to help those in need. I was never taught this by any organized belief system and was never
made to act this way by any parental figure, I've always done this because I believed it was "right" and because I felt that people needed my help,
kindness and understanding.
Yes, it is natural for a human to be that way. But rather than seeing it as people "needing you" or rather than seeing it as a chore you have
fulfill, how about allowing the kindness that spontaeously arises out of your natural goodwill to suffice, without forcing it?
However, looking back on my life, and judging it honestly and objectively, I'd have to say that helping others seems to have gotten me absolutely no
This reasoning is, in my humble opinion, the first step on the path to darker realms. Should you learn to practice kindness without needing to "get
anywhere" (gain-consciousness, get-consciousness, strategizing-ego-consciousness) and should you also treat yourself kindly first, you will notice
that kindness and uprightness make you invincible.
Helping others and being "a good person" never got me friends, it never made me successful in school, it never got me a job.
If you did "goodness" with that in mind, its not really goodness in the purest sense. Furthermore, denying yourself fun and success is not goodness
As mentioned previously: To serve others AND self to the best of your ability. From my experience this is the key to success in every way.
Why should one try and be "a good person"? What purpose does it serve to "live a good life"? If we see those around us doing "bad" things yet
succeeding in life shouldn't that tell us that striving to be some Bodhisattva is a fool's errand?
Whether or not selflesness is a proper intention depends upon where you are looking from. If you cant meet your own needs and are struggling to
survive - thats not the time to practice selflesness. But once your needs are met and you are calm and at peace, you naturally and automatically ARE a
good person that is of benefit and value to others. Its not that you "should" or "must" be a good person. The preacher of morals who commands you
to be "a good person" does not understand that goodness need not be forced but arises naturally out of human nature when that human is well fed and
at rest. Then, from that vantage point, selflesness is not a burden but a path to happiness.
I must say that thinking about it leaves me with a feeling of betrayal. I didn't have to help people, I could have used my intellect and talents for
purely selfish reasons and I'm beginning to feel that I should
The entire post is written with the idea that selflesness gets you some kind of reward - and thats not true selflesness.
Again, before one can be truly selfless and let go of selfishness entirely, one should have first been a bit selfish - selfish in a positive sense of
energizing oneself before claiming to be able to energize others. How can you energize others if you have no energy yourself?
Despite what I view as distortions, the mere fact that you made this post shows that you are well-intentioned "to do the right thing", and that you
are questioning yourself. Thats already far more advanced than half of humanity.
If the world is truly as sick and corrupt as it seems, so obviously, to be it would only be logical that I should change my strategy and act
Many mistake kindness and selflesness with being naive. In a brutal, dishonest and selfish world it indeed does not pay to naively think anyone is
going to care about your selflesness and kindness. The world does not give a damn. But you are not being kind for the world, you are being kind for
yourself, because of the way it makes you feel. And if it makes you feel good, it was the correct thing to do. And that "feeling good" will have a
positive effect on your health and your creative abilities. So, even though one does not aim for a pay-off, there is a pay-off anyway. But learning
the tricks of the game, learning to be tough in business, learning to be expert in certain fields, is required to survive in a tough world. Just
because one learns some toughness does not mean one is not kind and selfless.
I'm tired of being subordinate to my inferiors, I'm tired of being concerned with other's feelings
Meditate on the difference between pity (=weakness) and compassion/respect (=strength).
in order to succeed, I should use all my knowledge and talents to dominate my inferiors, strive only for myself and care nothing for the rest of the
world lest I remain where I am, completely powerless against a depraved society.
It is true that the dominance-game will get you further up the latter. But it wont get you WAY up there where the happy are. What is success without
happiness? Balance and discernment are better. Where selflesness does not become naive and meek and dominance/toughness does not become destructive.
So beyond your either-or dilemma, there is a middle-path.
Disclaimer: All this is my opinion only and need not represent YOUR truth.
Looking forward to any comment, objection or question that may have arisen.
[edit on 5-8-2009 by Skyfloating]