Question: Why is there so much selfishness in the world right now?Sri Chinmoy: The origin of selfishness is the limited consciousness of "I" and "mine". There is a difference between "I" and "mine". "I" is the individual consciousness of this body, but anything beyond the body becomes "mine". This is how we limit ourselves.
Selfishness comes into our lives only when we want to see the man-made truth and not the God-made Truth. There is a great difference between man-made truth and God-made Truth. God-made Truth means infinite, boundless Consciousness and Light. Man-made truth is the immediate satisfaction of desire. This is the truth that man sees. This is the truth that we, as ordinary human beings, understand.
God-made Truth is infinite Bliss, infinite Consciousness. But we do not care to have this infinite Bliss at our disposal. We want only immediate pleasure, immediate satisfaction; we want everything instantly. Even when we try to achieve something inwardly, we feel that it must be either now or never. When we don't get what we want immediately from our outer life, we revolt against our inner life, and at that moment we invite selfishness into our life.
The inner life is always in touch with the highest Truth, Light and Bliss. But we consciously cherish the outer life with all its ignorance, darkness and imperfection. We are totally afraid of the wealth of Truth and Light in the inner life. We feel that inside us there are very powerful, dynamic forces that will destroy us the moment we meditate for a minute. We feel that inside us there is a volcano that will destroy us. At the same time that we are trying to possess the world, we are afraid of our own inner possessions.
Selfishness comes when we refuse to be satisfied with what we already have, when by hook or by crook we want to obtain something which does not belong to us. And when we don't get these possessions we feel miserable. But we will never get everything we hope for in the outer life. Even if we do get it, there will be no satisfaction for us. If we get thousands of dollars today, tomorrow we will say, "I need millions of dollars." But if we enter into our inner life instead, there we will get infinite Peace, infinite Light, infinite divine Wealth.
When we are dealing with Infinity, how can selfishness exist? "From Infinity, when Infinity is taken away, Infinity remains." So say our Upanishads. When everything is boundless inside us, why should selfishness exist? It is only because we are limited that we want to compete with others and have more than they have. We don't want to bring to the fore what we already have inside — Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. Because we live in the superficial outer world we want to possess and be possessed. We feel that we will be satisfied only with the wealth and achievements of the outer world, and not with those of the inner world.
But this selfishness can be uprooted. There can be no selfishness if we feel that the inner life is the real life. From the inner life if we enter into the outer life, then the outer life will have meaning. If we don't do this, then selfishness is bound to remain.
In the aspiring heart, the inner heart, there is no selfishness. It is in the physical consciousness, in the vital and in the mind that selfishness exists. If we bring forward the light of the soul into the heart, and from the heart into the mind, from the mind into the vital, and from the vital into the physical, once we have illumined all the parts of our being, then there can be no selfishness in our lives.