Beware = Be Aware!
Today we’re taking a look at one of the virtues in the human paradigm that often masquerades as Love. There are so many things that pretend to be love in our human world. On the “up” side of those there is sympathy and worrying, on the “lower” end control and manipulation. On today’s list: altruism.
Altruism is when we act to promote someone else’s welfare even at potential risk or detriment to ourselves.
That sounds like a good and noble thing, yes? Animals sometimes act altruistically in inexplicable ways. Humans strive to be selfless in efforts to counteract what we perceive as an egocentric drive of self-concern. I mean, who doesn’t want to be good and do the right thing, right? Everyone agrees that’s the better way, the higher road.
Altruism is even cited as an opposite to egoism, and since we all know egoism is “bad,” well shouldn’t we go the opposite way? And here we see the snag. We are forgetting that Love has no opposite. By going to an opposite, it’s possible we’re missing out on the heart of Love, which is the whole, and which is us.
Is Altruism Love?
Altruism is a huge virtue paradigm, and it turns out every virtue comes with hidden snags. From what I’ve seen, altruism is very connected to the need to be good, right, and worthy, and the value we find in being those things. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of those qualities, but they get pretty sticky when we gain our sense of worth in them. So often we gain a sense of value from being what someone else judges as good, instead of from being all that we are. We focus on part instead of the whole. Thus the altruism paradigm becomes a big hook in consciousness that keeps us from freely living as all that we are. If we are only free to be good, and to do right (and by whose standard, I might ask, as it appears to be an ever-shifting target), then we’re not really free, are we?
Well, it’s bust the paradigm day again! Are you ready to rock your inner boat into the smoothest sailing you’ve ever known? Be aware – there could be a few rapids on the way. And down the river? Pure Freedom.
What Motivates Your Choices?
Let’s look first at how we make choices. Often we make a choice based on the benefit we perceive it will have for someone else. Any time we make a choice to further another’s happiness, there is a basic flaw in our assumption. Such choices assume we think we know what another soul is choosing at any given moment (see Me, Too and On Not Saving Someone From their Life for more on this). Such choices are always based in seek pleasure/avoid pain, doing right over doing wrong, which is equated with considering someone else’s suffering.
Are You Playing God?
But this perspective fails to take into account the fact that we (all) choose everything: sometimes we choose abandonment, sometimes we choose suffering, sometimes we choose heartache, sometimes we choose betrayal. At the soul level, we are always learning from those things. So to avoid visiting any disharmony on anyone else, to prevent them from having their experience, is one of the greatest disservices we can render. It means we are playing God. We assume that we know what they’re choosing and why. We are choosing, in that case, from control, in an effort to control and manage outcomes for another person. Control is very sneaky at masquerading as love.
But control doesn’t exist, nor does managing outcomes, nor does a reality that anyone’s life is based on anything except their own sovereignty. So in making any decision, anytime, instead of trying to choose on behalf of another, we can instead align with what we truly are and choose from there. We can ask, what is it that my true Being wants to express through me in this moment? It’s the only way to truly choose. In reality, there’s no way to choose to direct another person’s experience. If there were, every choice we made on someone else’s behalf would produce the expected outcome. But this doesn’t happen, does it? And yet we play in this illusion all the time.
Are You Being Emotionally Manipulated?
Let’s look at feelings that arise from choices, meaning someone else’s feelings about our choices. This is where emotional manipulation comes in. Know this: We can’t ever make anyone feel anything, and no one can make us feel anything. We are always 100% in charge of what we feel, and so are they. Our feelings are our response, our stuff. Often even when we know this we continue to make choices in order to make other people feel certain ways (happy), because it actually feels like that’s how it plays out. “If I make this choice, they will be happy with me, and if I make that choice, they won’t.” But what we’re really doing is playing into their emotional manipulation of us so they can put us in charge of how they feel. What??? Remember: everyone is in charge of how they feel, and no one makes anyone feel anything!
When we choose from this space of allowing someone to manipulate us, we get angry. We are angry for choosing to be “good,” of caving to the pressure of “if you were good you’d choose such and such (care for me, honor your word, be a nice person, consider someone else, fill in the blank).” All while “good” actually doesn’t exist! All of that “sacrifice” (which also doesn’t exist, only choice) is made in the name of an illusion. All in the name of “love,” except that it’s manipulation instead, an energy brokering of “I’ll make a choice based on how you’ll feel so that you can have what you want and need, so you’ll have less pain.” Feel how heavy that is? And how no one is truly loving anyone in this paradigm?
This way of choosing has never had to do with Love. Love doesn’t come with pat answers and choices, and certainly doesn’t practice a rigid alignment with the virtuous values of society. Love is what we all are, and it has always been beyond the boundaries of right and wrong. It is the space that holds all of that. It is the space that includes duality, but isn’t dual. It simply IS.
In a sense, there is only one thing we need to remember: what Love is, and what It isn’t.
Ask yourself this: if I didn’t choose from being “good” or “pleasing another” or “being virtuous,” what would I choose? Feel into it as if there really was no “good.” What does your heart know?
Love freely releases everything and everyone, including all outcomes and persons, because it knows it possesses nothing. It simply is. Anything else is simply being possessed, or possession, never a preferred state!
Are Humans Essentially Depraved?
When we keep looking, we can see also how Love chooses everything, including selflessness. Of course it does! This is important. I think in general, people fear that if we give up the virtue paradigm and it’s associated features – altruism, sacrifice, doing good – we won’t consider others. We’ll be selfish bastards. That the nature of human depravity will take over. But what if this paradigm of manipulation masquerading as love is the depravity? What if it has nothing to do with what we truly are? Do you ever feel spacious, peaceful and whole when you “feel like you should do this because it’s the right thing to do?” With choices in unconditional love (which does not put good above bad, or right above wrong), we’re actually considering others for REAL. Our choices will be made in Love instead of manipulation, from the level of Being (which IS unconditional Love) instead of the human paradigm of fear.
We’re Only Up Against One Simple Thing
Sometimes I see that we’re so distrusting of our human aspect, because we’re not very familiar with choosing from the level of our true nature of Being, that we put all sorts of rules on the human to keep it in line and to keep it from doing harm. What if this reaction is a simple misunderstanding and ignorance of our true nature which reinforces the perception of separation (good and evil), which leads to deep mistrust within, and perpetuates more separation? Because basically this is the only thing we’re ever up against: Our perception of separation. I ask you this: how can God choose against itself? There is only One of Us here.
If there was no right or wrong, what would you choose? Another way to say this is, “If there was nothing you feared, what would you choose?” How would your heart sing out the truth of Who You Are for the whole world to hear? I look forward to seeing the answers in your Life!
Infinite Love –
Today’s image: Waves of Waipio, Waipio Valley, Kona, HI