Is Meditating Selfish?

Meditation Selfish

Many wonder if it is remarkably insensitive to sit quietly and mediate while the world burns. Isn’t meditation akin to Nero playing the fiddle? Isn’t meditation selfish?

The short answer to this is: Yes. Meditation is selfish.

The long answer is that under normal consciousness everything we do goes through the ego. So in some sense everything we do is “selfish”. The ego has a vested interest in our every action. It colors our every thought and act.

For centuries Yogis have grappled with the following problem: How does one come out of the ego when our every action is controlled by the ego? They discovered that it was not productive to think of actions as selfish or non-selfish. Instead the lens they used was: Does this action make me more selfish or less selfish?

Actions that make us less selfish are called “Sattvic” actions by Yogis. These are actions that come from beauty, purity, silence, creativity, and intense focus.

Action that take us deeper into the ego are classified as being either “Rajasic” or “Tamasic”.

Rajasic actions are those that come from greed, ambition, passion, and the excited ego.

Tamasic actions come from defeat, depression, inaction, and an ego that has given up.

When we meditate or do yoga, we indulge in Sattvic actions. This puts us on the path to reduce the hold of ego on our consciousness. It puts us in an upward spiral where our ego-centered desires are diminished and we become more empathetic to needs and feelings of others.

The impact of yoga and meditation does not end when we get off the yoga mat or stop meditating. These go on to inform our every action. If we allow ourselves to be drawn into an upward spiral then we perform our day-to-day tasks in such a way that minimizes the role of our ego. This then in turn improves our yoga and meditation. Eventually we reach states where the role of ego in our lives becomes increasingly diminished. The fingerprint of ego on our actions becomes increasingly subtle.

As our ego diminishes so do our desires. But there is one desire that continues to push us forward, and this is the desire to reduce the interference of the ego in our lives. Eventually even this last desire falls away and we reach a state of utter unselfishness, a peace that passes all understanding.

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Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.

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