I learned a little bit about selflessness yesterday while walking my dog. I normally pick up after my dog, but that day I also picked up some other dog’s poo. It was horrible, all cold and covered with flies.
Why did I do it? Because the day before, my dog had gobbled up some dried poo when I wasn’t paying attention. Apparently they are attracted to the smell and that’s how they pass germs to each other. I was determined that it wouldn’t happen again.
Selflessness happens when the self grows
I was able to pick up that awful stuff, with my nose scrunched up and leaning as far away from it as I could, because in that moment I was bigger than myself. My ‘self’ had expanded to include my dog. This bigger self was able to do things that the smaller self recoiled against.
While thinking about this (picking up disgusting leftover poo is something that messes with your brain for a while) I wondered just how big the self could get.
The biggest possible self
The more people we love, the bigger a person we are. In theory therefore, if we loved the whole universe then the Self would be as big as God. If this is true, then the way to transcend our little egos is not to become self-less, but to be self-more. When you are your biggest possible self, you become truly selfless.
Levels of Self
Yesterday while I was walking my dog, I saw another poo pile. This time I left it alone and just made sure my dog didn’t get near it. So maybe my self became smaller again. Is it so easy for the self to ‘zoom in’ and ‘zoom out’ like this?
Perhaps the self is a little like the waistline. It can expand and contract, sometimes all in the space of a day. Perhaps God (whatever you understand this to be) is like that too, able to be as big as the universe one moment, and as small as an individual person the next.
Selflessness is the natural result of growth
Many people hold selflessness as an ideal and try to deny themselves in order to be a ‘good’ person. Instead of denying ourselves, why not try to expand the self to include as many people as possible?
We are more than we think we are. When we realise that we are part of a larger Oneness and that our Self is much larger than we think, selflessness becomes natural simply out of love for this all-inclusive, magnificent self.