True meaning of ‘Unselfishness’, the highest quality of spiritual freedom

Two people are lost in the desert. They are dying from hunger and thirst. Finally, they come to a high wall. On the other side they can hear the sound of a waterfall and birds singing. Above, they can see the branches of lush trees over the top of the wall. Their fruit look delicious.
One of them manages to climb over the wall and disappears down the other side. The other, instead, returns to the desert to help other lost travelers find their way to the oasis.

– Paradise, Zen stories

This post is the part of my first published e-book 25 Ideas of intellectual and spiritual freedom.

Becoming un-self is the last and the most important key of spiritual freedom. All of spirituality is about becoming unselfish. All these suffering, illusions and Maya in the world are the result of “selfishness”.

The story above is the perfect metaphor for the world we live in. We are all “lost travellers” in the desert of Maya. We are always hungry and thirsty of sense desires. In that world, there are two people who find a high wall. This wall is the line between this world and the world beyond. It is the line which our reasoning cannot cross. When two of them somehow see the world beyond they make different choices.

The first one chooses to end his thirst and goes beyond the wall to find his eternal peace. The second however doesn’t care about his own ‘self’ and goes on to help the other lost travellers. Both of them are right in their choices. However, I am really amazed by the second choice.

What gives a person such a will, such power to go back? In our hearts we know how free that person is who gave up his little self to lead others to heaven! This story makes us feel that freedom of unselfishness. All our lives we first take care of ourselves and then think about others. But true greatness is the one who doesn’t care about his little self. Truly free is the one who has destroyed all worries and fears about himself. To those giants even the fear of death cannot shake. They have attained the highest goal of spiritual freedom!

We have to slowly move towards that goal. Note that the goal of becoming unselfish in itself is selfishness. But we must pass through that selfishness because the only way is through. At first we can only attempt to take selfless actions. But as we slowly gain the knowledge of the “Atman”, true unselfishness will shine in our words, thoughts and Karma.

“Unselfishness is God. One may live on a throne, in a golden palace, and be perfectly unselfish; and then he is in God. Another may live in a hut and wear rags, and have nothing in the world; yet, if he is selfish, he is intensely merged in the world.”

Vivekananda- Karma Yoga

For other 24 of such other ideas, download the book from the link mentioned above! 🙂

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