It might not sound very Zen to encourage people to be selfish. After all: selfishness is the root of all the terrible things people do. Or is it?
All the things we do, every action we perform has a goal. We think it will bring us something. The reason we do something or not, or the way we do something is based on consideration given to our ultimate objectives. Will it bring us closer to the objective or not? If we think it will, we will do it. I we think it won’t, we will find a reason not to do it. So the question is: what is this all-important goal that is directing our lives?
The answer is simple: we want to survive. It is a system that’s been built-in us for millions of years. And it has proven to be very efficient. It has made us the most successful live form on earth. When we do something ‘good’ our body rewards us by feeling ‘good.’ But obviously, something is going wrong here. If something is making me feel ‘good,’ it doesn’t have to mean it will be good for someone else. Some people seem to feel good when they hurt others.
‘Good’ and Good
The problem here is that there’s two types of `good`. On the one hand, we have satisfaction, which is a short-term type of happiness. If we get that promotion instead of somebody else it will give us satisfaction, but not happiness because inside, we know we have hurt others. Satisfaction only gives our ego’s a boost; our monkey-mind is happy because it only cares about the short-term.
On the other there’s true happiness that will last and give real balance. A great way to know if something brings you satisfaction or happiness is to imagine how you will think about it in your dying bed.
Nobody wishes at the end to have worked some more, or to have owned a bigger car. We wish to have spent more time with our family or friends. So true happiness isn’t just about ourselves, it is about how we are to others. We enjoy real happiness when we can make others happy, especially the ones we love.
Zen is Right.
My moment of understanding came when I realized that only when we walk the Zen path and help others along the way, will we find true happiness. And not just satisfaction. It’s a true win-win situation.
The most important thing is not to let us be deluded by our monkey-minds.
Bring happiness to all,
That is the way.