“The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.”
― Swami Vivekananda
The word “success” is open to many interpretations. For that reason “true success” is an open door. In this quote, Vivekananda wanted to highlight one side of unselfishness which is to ask for no return when DOING “good.” For the beginner in spirituality, this quote deserves to be “practiced.” The end result being someone who is practicing something as a means to obtain something else, that is our own self gratification for we have “achieved” some sort of perceived unselfishness.
If I discover that I am selfish, then I want to be unselfish and thus, I will follow Vivekananda’s advise and “practice” not to ask for return. Now, after a few or many of those practices, I can call myself “unselfish” and “successful.” Is that so? Not a chance.
Unselfishness cannot be defined or put into a concept. Someone unselfish will not “practice” or rehearse in his mind the deed that he is to perform and the way that he will behave after the action has been completed. That is completely artificial. Also, Life may present situations when asking for a return is necessary. Life is not a static formula to be applied in all situations.
Unselfishness comes naturally when we realize that the “other” is also “me.” (See the third quote below) It is in that unity when there is no need to define “success,” for a natural act is only a reflection of who we truly ARE.
In the meantime; while that consciousness is not there in mankind, we could continue with our “practice” according to Vivekananda, and label ourselves whatever we wish. Obviously, it is better than DOING nothing.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.“
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Does it truly matter what label we think we ARE? (spiritual, bodily, astral, metaphysical, multidimensional, etc.) Paradoxically, what matters is to find out “who we ARE:” That is what we emit in Life, give in Life, for we could find out how we are contributing with Life. It is in under the observation of our relationship with other protagonists of Life, how we find who we ARE by ourselves; as long as we are aware of our thoughts, deeds and feelings. That is the most important finding beyond any sacred belief or dogma that we could ever engage in. In a nutshell, what we ARE is what we emit on a daily basis: Thoughts, words, deeds and of course, feelings. Could it be otherwise?
According to society, deeds alone will define us, but that is self deception. A “politically correct” lie to ourselves and others. A deed which is good, moral and with extensive benefit to all; comes from BEING first, which is in alignment with what we FEEL and think. That action is wholesome, honest and thus, will elevate our state of consciousness. For example, I could donate money to others. Society will praise that. I may get to be known as a ‘saint.’ However, my BEING is greedy and power hungry. I did that because I wanted a tax benefit (thoughts) and the admiration from others (feelings.) I will not follow up where those funds end up. I will not be there to give my time. Anyone can write a check if money is all they have. That dissonance between BEING, FEELING and THINKING creates an ACTION which will not be wholesome. That energy, may cause problems to others instead.
“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.“
– Black Elk
Oneness with the Universe, Life. In duality, we are individuals but also ONE unity with the Totality, therefore; omnipresent, that is ONE with all there is.
The state of consciousness of many are stuck in one side of that duality, that is individuality for their way to relate with life comes from thinking alone. Thought is divisive by nature. It likes to separate and label things. The change in consciousness comes when feelings become the new way to relate with Life. Feelings like Love, peace and happiness are not emotions. Going into the experience and understanding of that, is another notch in consciousness.