There seems to be a lot of conflict when it comes to talking about both selfishness and selflessness. Here is the reality of it though. It doesn’t matter what is being done in the world, it will always be selfish; It is always going to be centered around the self. This will be true up until the point that there is no longer the self, and when this happens, there is ONLY selflessness. It is selflessness because there is no longer anyone there to be selfish, things just happen, there is no longer a doer of things. For example things will happen, but no one making them happen. There will be feeding of the poor but the receiving of food and the giving of food is happening by this same phenomenon. It is all encompassing.
However this is how it is only selfishness, when someone believes that they are being benevolent or charitable. The main thing to be aware of is that there is still the thought that “I am doing this to feel this way, gain this inner or outer status, or satisfaction.” This will always be the case as long as the ego and thought are seemingly taking control of “this action.” Just because the thought is there claiming the action, doesn’t mean it is doing the action, it just thinks it is. It is selfish because the thought of doing these acts whether it be charitable or regular obviously less refined selfish action re-enforces that there is some kind of separation between this “host of thought” and what the action is going towards.
Now I’m sure there is a lot of resistance to this thought as with any thought there is always the opposition, but look deeply into it and pick it apart as much as you can until you find the core of it. Just because something is selfish doesn’t mean that it’s bad. If you feel you are helping the poor, then by all means, keep doing it. If it gives you that good feeling and that others may be satisfied through you then do not worry, just acknowledge that regardless of what it is, it is selfish action being reinforced by the ego or personality. A false sense of personality. There isn’t any need to worry though, because all action when it comes to the thought,”I am this” thought that is attaching itself to the doeing and the thinking, and the creating are all on equal level, there is no higher or lower ground.
It was said that a disciple became enlightened in a meat market because someone had been asked which beef was best, and the reply was that, “there is no better meat, they are all the best meat.” Right then it clicked and the person became enlightened.
So how to become truly selfless? Well you guessed it, and it takes a little effort on your part, it is something only you can do for yourself (this is even selfish, funny to think so huh?!). It only takes you being honest with yourself for 10 minutes about what is going on, with how this “you” or “me” has been created, if it is you to begin with. Look at thought and see where it is coming from and whether this me character actually signifies you or is only just thought attaching to a thought attaching to a thought until its just a bundle of thoughts creating this misconception of who you actually are.
There is no you there if you go deep enough into honesty, that those thoughts are real, thats why it feels so real, but you are nowhere to be found through those thoughts. Look at it as if you were looking at a beautiful tapestry, you do not put effort into it, you just look. Do this the same with you, do not put effort into it, just see that there is no seer. Everything is just happening, there is no you required for those things to be done. Don’t worry the loss of the egos control won’t lead to where you think it will lead (well it leads to a death, but its not what thought thinks of death.) There will be a recognition of this thing that has always been there, it is an incredible shift in consciousness but yet, so ordinary, you will be baffled on how you could of missed it at all…