In using that term, I interpreted the Dalai Lama as meaning that if people really wanted to be happy, they would be totally selfish…and totally selfish in his world means you would be TOTALLY COMPASSIONATE. He calls this “selfish wisdom” because when you do what’s best for others, you are happier. Consistently.
Sometimes doing what’s best for others means sacrificing for others. But often – and get ready for this one – it means doing whatever will help YOU show up in the world as a better person. Why?
Miserable people make the people around them miserable. Truly happy people (people with happiness sourced from inside themselves) uplift the people around them.
You see, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: People love that I am out here doing work for refugees in Uganda, and every day the Congolese refugees show me their gratitude with deep eyes…and I am thrilled that I love doing what I do…but to be honest, it’s really secondary that it helps others. I really do like sleeping on funky beds and working my way through a harried market, coming up with creative ways to solve health problems with limited resources, and dealing with emergencies with no one else around (and above is a photo of me teaching a class to the local health providers…but you can’t see the guest goat that is in the front row;).
I help others because I get off on it. It fills me, it nourishes me, it lights me up!
And thank goddess that peeps like me enjoy doing this, right?! If not, the folks who didn’t would be doing this and be miserable and bitter and wanting to go home, except for some guilt trip that held them prisoner. Now who, my friends, needs guilt-ridden pity? In my mind, no one. Not if we all did what filled us up.
Is this “Selfish” in the Dalai Lama’s sense of the word? Or should the fact that I love this shizzle discount my humanitarian efforts? Would my work be more worthy if I hated it? I say, “Hellz no!”
When we do what lights us up, others benefit. Every time.
So if I was into designing shoes, my badass shoes would help women feel confident when they walked into that meeting they were nervous about, or they’d feel sexy when they were having a down day and rock that first date with their uber-crush.
If I was passionate about teaching, I’d love doing lesson plans at nights and parents would thank me at the next PTA meeting for how much their child has grown in my classroom (and doing so outside, for if I were a teacher, I would teach a LOT outside!).
If I was into sushi (which I am, but not quite a connoisseur at making it), people would choose to have epic life events like engagements or milestone birthdays or “I’m happy being single” dates at my restaurant, and they’d be creating immortal happy memories.
You get it, yes? I’m lucky that I like working in refugee camps because its like cooking with butter. In my mind, what’s there not to love about doing it?
However, no matter what you do, if you love it – if it lights you up – there is absolutely nothing else you should be doing. At all. However selfish it may seem, if it doesn’t impose on others’ freedom, have at it, love!
You were put here to be happy. Not to suffer.
As a truly spiritual being, you find joy in bringing happiness to others. I know this. You know this. The people that truly know you know this,
Why are there disco balls, waterfalls, clear blue seas, true loves, orgasms, pudgy baby faces, rich dark chocolate, kaleidoscopic sunsets, high-grade Egyptian cotton sheets to make love in, powder snow, hot springs under clear skies, the perfect Pinot Noir, a forgiving nod from a friend or an estranged parent? For YOU to be happy.