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Law of Attraction: Being Egotistic vs. Being Selfish
It seems that there is a fine line one walks when choosing to be on the so called "spiritual path". That is what this hub is all about. In the following paragraphs we will explore the difference between being egotistical and being selfish. I will discuss what I feel are important aspects of both sides of this coin. I was inspired to write this hub because of Mystique1957's hub on the ego that I recently finished reading. You can check it out here. In no way do I claim to be totally free from ego. Anyone who does is surely not. I only come as a humble messenger of what I have learned in my life in hopes that it may lead others down the same path of more awareness and greater love for all that is. Please feel free to comment with any experiences you have had or any ideas that come to you after reading.
Being human is not always easy. We are constantly in motion, hopefully gravitating towards experiences that make us happy. We have to deal with our minds, which are constantly thinking. We have to take care of our bodies or they will decay and fail us. Basically, being human takes a lot of maintenance. Usually, this is where the thinking mind comes in.
Our thinking minds, which could also be called our egos, conjure up all sorts of ways to make sure we are maintained. The ego also tries relentlessly to enhance itself and protect itself out of fear from the inherent uncertainty that comes from living life. The ego is in a constant state of upkeep. This is what takes our minds away from the present moment, this unconscious fretting about the future and making sure we are cared for. The ego is also very demanding. It wants to be satisfied in every moment. The ironic thing about it is that while we're looking to the future or the outside world for entertainment, we miss out on the opportunity for relaxation and realization in the present.
Suffering is caused by us whenever we are unaware of our circus show of thinking. If we believe to our core that our thinking mind is all that we are, then we have fallen into the trap of the ego. We are totally unconscious and seeking only to enhance our self image. The only thing that the ego wants is more: more comforts, more entertainment, more pleasure- it is truly never satisfied. It is never at peace with where we are at in our lives. When a person totally wrapped up in ego makes decisions and intentions, it only causes them more suffering.
So really, all that being egotistical entails, is simply being ignorant. It really only means that one is blind to the laws of the Universe. He or she doesn't realize that they have a choice in how they think, and how they feel, and relies only on the world of material to bring them a fleeting sense of satisfaction. When that temporary contentment is gone, they are convinced that since the world gave them their short bit of good feeling, then it must be the world which took it away, and so become irritated. They believe that external factors or others are at fault for their sour mood and so the thinking mind leads them to believe that if they can wipe out that which is "causing" them pain and suffering, then they will be happy. Then suffering is perpetuated. Others are pulled into their despair and then also persuaded into their false way of thinking.
The word selfish, in the collective conscious, is largely associated with being egotistical. I want to reclaim the word selfish, to take it back and have its meaning be more positive. Hopefully, this next section will do just that. To me, being selfish is putting yourself first. Yes, this does sound egotistic. But think about it. How can putting your own happiness first, be egotistical? No matter how hard you would try, you will never make anyone happy. You may perform certain gestures or say certain things that help them get in touch with their own internal happiness, but you can never force them to be happy. So why waste time with worrying about another's internal situation. You must focus on you! Besides, if there is any way you can change others it is by first focusing on being content yourself.
It is in no way, wrong to want the best for yourself. There should be no feelings of guilt if you have a lot. I believe that we should all experience the best life has to offer. Seriously, I think it is everyone's birthright! Having a lot is usually a direct correlation with your connection to Spirit. Now, when I say, "a lot" I don't necessarily mean a lot of material goodies accumulated from manipulating others or from "working really hard". True abundance is having a lot of energy, a lot of happiness, a lot friends, and yes, a lot of wealth.
It's the Money and Stuff
There seems to be a misperception about money, which could be the topic of a whole other hub. Basically, it boils down to the idea that we want money. We don't want money! What we want is the freedom to do whatever it is we want. We want the service money can bring ourselves and others. We want a servant that will barter our way into situations that are fun, exciting and soul moving! Yet, if money dictates how much of that we think we can have, then we have become its bitch. There, I said it. Our egotistical brethren believe that money will buy happiness, security or friends, and vehemently pursue it through climbing corporate or political ladders and are thus slaves to money. So having a lot of money, having a lot of possessions and being prosperous is not an issue. The issue is letting money rule your life to the point of putting yourself in compromising situations to attain it.
Walkin' That Line
So where do we go from here? I have found things like mindfulness and meditation to be key in distancing ourselves from egocentricity and at the same time as giving ourselves enough attention and appreciation to live the lives we each deserve. If we stay in touch with our Spirit, that quiet and calm voice within us, we will see a direct correlation in the amount of good that comes into our lives. How that connection manifests itself, is really none of our concern. The Universe will decide that. What we can focus on is staying whole.
Ultimately, all material is made up of Spirit. It is a simplified way of saying what the Buddha said; "Emptiness is form, and form is no other than emptiness". We can not really cut out the energy of the ego, we can really only learn to work with it and be mindful of its ramblings. Learn to recognize the difference between your Spirit speaking and the ego barking. The most important thing is to not fall into blindly following the ego. From there, we can cultivate happiness and joy within ourselves so we can share it with others. When we live and give unselfishly, or should I say un-egotistically, that same energy will be returned to us in much more abundance.