They say that people who place their own interests above the interests of others are selfish. But what are self-interests? For that matter, what is the self?
The concept of selfishness can only make sense to the ego. The spiritually awakened, those who have transcended ego, understand that the self is the divine essence, the soul, the spirit—formless consciousness itself. If conscious presence—awareness itself—is our true identity (our true self) beyond physical form, then our only wish is for everyone to perfectly align with the self.
To know thyself is to know that what is true in me is exactly the same as what is true in you. We all want to feel good, to be understood, to be free to express ourselves, to experience ongoing joy, beauty, safety, inspiration, to give of ourselves and to receive, and to exist in a way that is absent of negative emotions. To align with this true self is to effortlessly come together in perfect unity, in oneness, where we exist harmoniously. This is only attained when we know the nature of the true self and align with it.
The self is love, and our self-interests are what love feels like, what love is, and what love does. For love to flourish, what is required is an open heart and an open mind. The ability to love ourselves, and to extend that love to others, is true freedom. Therefore, anything that restricts this freedom is an error because it is against truth, beauty, and love.
But the sickness called ego seeks salvation through a battle to get more, to take from, to be better than others or more right. When the ego perceives someone else as winning this game (a game that it is also playing), it attempts to project “selfishness” onto the other; thus, making the other wrong through shame and guilt and its false sense of self, therefore, right and superior.
The result of projecting the ego’s concept of selfishness onto others is really only a strengthening of the ego’s false sense of self. If successful, the ego makes the other guilty and then attempts to claim the authority to manipulate, control, or punish. Therefore, the projection of so-called selfishness is, in itself, the ultimate act of selfishness because it is a manipulation that fails to honor and respect everyone’s dignity, free will, and ability for each of us to do what we came to this world to do.