The Spirituality of Selfishness


Some of you reading this article may have heard me say, “Someday I’m going to write an article about the Spirituality of Selfishness.” And a few of you have probably heard me say it more than once over the years. Maitreya (as channeled by Margaret McElroy) tells us that we have to learn to speak our own truth quietly and clearly, with love. Well, here it is. You see, I believe that selfishness has gotten a bum wrap, a bad reputation. Yes, I can understand (and often agree with) the view that selfishness is not always a positive human trait, but as a categorical generalization, I have to disagree.

I truly believe that my life is all about me – facing my fears, learning my lessons, repaying my karma, learning to graciously receive any karma owed me, and learning to become master of my own life. I believe that other souls came into this life to assist me, to mirror for me, to push my buttons and sometimes to provoke me to respond as I choose, all for the purpose of helping me to do these things – to grow spiritually. I am in their life to do the same for them, and I don’t see how any of that kind of “spiritual selfishness” is a bad thing.

Regardless of whether we perceive each other as friend or foe on the earth plane, we agreed (in the world of Spirit before we incarnated this time) to play our respective roles in this life. Why? Because we are all on the same path. As individual souls we are all trying to become more perfectly aligned with the larger, eternal part of us – our Higher Self, which is pure, unconditional love (1 John 4:8 & 16), and sometimes we agreed to give each other hell on earth in order to better understand (as giver and/or receiver) that there is a better way. Yes, we can gain knowledge from a teacher or from a book, but how many lifetimes have we had to learn the “fact” (knowledge) that 2 + 2 =4? If we had really learned it in any previous lifetime, we wouldn’t have to re-learn it again in this life. But transformation of the soul and Wisdom are not “knowledge”, they are learned only through experience, through soul evolution. Once a lesson is truly and completely understood at the soul level (wisdom), we have raised our level of consciousness and don’t have to repeat that particular lesson. I think Mira Kirshenbaum states it nicely:

• “Things happen to help you get rid of the parts of yourself that aren’t you; to help you be more real and more yourself, not like everyone else; to help you lead a more authentic life; and ultimately to help you discover who you really are.” ~ Mira Kirshenbaum (author of Everything Happens for a Reason: Finding the True Meaning of the Events in Our Lives)

So when is “spiritual selfishness” a good thing? Here are some thoughts on the subject:

• “Live your life as you see fit. That’s not selfish. Selfish is to demand that others live their lives as you see fit.” ~ Anthony DeMello (1931–1987; Jesuit priest & psychotherapist known for his books on spirituality)

• “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” ~ Oscar Wilde (1854-1900; Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet)

• “It is only when we attempt to control and rule someone else that we are selfish.” ~ Dr. Edward Bach (1886–1936; British physician, homeopath, spiritual writer, & developer of the Bach Flower Remedies; from The Original Writings

And why is “spiritual selfishness” a good thing? Again, not just my opinion:

• “Hypothetically, people worry about everyone being selfishly oriented. ‘If everyone did exactly what they want to do, what kind of world would this be?’ And we say, a really, really good one. Because if everyone did what they wanted to do, everyone would feel free. And if you feel free, you feel empowered. And every negative emotion that exists – hear this – every negative emotion that exists is because there is some sense of loss of freedom somewhere in there.” ~ Abraham (the collective consciousness of Spirit as channeled by Esther Hicks, excerpted from the workshop in Syracuse, NY on Wednesday, September 29th, 2004)

• “Sometimes people worry that if they selfishly consider what makes them happy above all other things, they will be uncaring and unfair to those around them, but we know that the opposite is true. When you care about your alignment with Source, which is represented by the way you feel, and you work to maintain your Connection, anyone who is then your object of attention receives benefit from your gaze. You cannot uplift another unless you are connected to the Stream of Well-Being yourself.” ~ Abraham (in Money and the Law of Attraction, p. 176)

• “If we were standing in your physical shoes, this would be our dominant quest: Entertaining Yourself, pleasing Yourself, connecting with Yourself, being Yourself, enjoying Yourself, loving Yourself. Some say, ‘Well, Abraham you teach selfishness.’ And we say, yes we do, yes we do, yes we do, because unless you are selfish enough to reach for that connection, you don’t have anything to give anyone, anyway. And when you are selfish enough to make that connection – you have an enormous gift that you give everywhere you are.” ~ Abraham (Excerpted from the workshop in San Antonio, TX on Saturday, April 21st, 2001)

• “There are a lot of people that will improve their lives when you improve yours. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself and to focus on self-improvement. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give the world.” ~ Craig Ballantyne (

So here is my simple truth: The only reason I am currently in this body on the earth plane is to advance my soul evolution. But I am not alone in this opinion:

• “The purpose of your life on this earth plane is to help yourself. This does not mean one should be selfish or egotistical, but that one should look at one’s own problems before sorting out those of others. . . . Your purpose in this incarnation is to look at yourself and to work through the issues which are still outstanding in your Akashic record.” ~ Maitreya (Newsletter #72, May 22, 2003) [My understanding is that Maitreya’s use of the term “selfish” means “in the usual sense” rather than “spiritual selfishness” as he clearly states in “to work through the issues”. Maitreya also tells us that “You are not here to please anyone else but yourself.”]

• “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (From the Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 6:33) [My understanding of the term “the kingdom of God” in this passage means “to be in alignment with the Higher-Self part of me”.]

• “If you’re not selfish enough to want to feel good, then you can’t connect with the energy that is your Source which does always feel good.” ~ Abraham (Excerpted from the workshop in Lincroft, NJ on Tuesday, October 15th, 1996)

And all the platitudes about one’s duty to serve others, to be “our brother’s keeper”, etc. all boil down to my simple truth as I see it.

• “Real unselfishness consists in sharing the interests of others.” ~ George Santayana (1863-1952, Spanish-born American philosopher & writer) [I interpret “the interests of others” as meaning their freedom, whatever helps them to progress toward their spiritual evolution on their terms as they see fit – whatever helps them to feel good about themselves and their perception of reality without my judgment.]

• “Forgiveness is almost a selfish act because of its immense benefits to the one who forgives.” ~ Lawana Blackwell (American author; The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark, 1999)

Yes, my life is all about me. That is my truth. I’ve stated it quietly (well, maybe with a little enthusiasm), clearly (I hope), and with love (as always). What is your truth regarding spiritual selfishness?