Because You Asked (1)

These are my answers to questions sent in by Aspire To Wisdom
subscribers. I hope you benefit from them too.

There is something that has been bothering me for quite some time
now and that is the role of self-sacrifice and spirituality. Is
it more spiritual to do something for the sake of others
happiness even if it forsakes our own? Is it selfish to want
something for yourself? Should our lives be about giving and not
expecting anything in return? Shouldn’t it be fulfilling enough
to see the people we love and care about happy? It’s an issue of
selfishness versus selflessness. Please shed some light on this

Debby Spencer

I think it depends where you are on the spiritual path in terms
of advancement. A Buddha or a Christ probably would act from
total selflessness, just as you describe. However, that arises
from a fundamental realization that there is NO SELF to begin

From a cosmic consciousness perspective, one who is perfectly in
tune with the wealth of the universe, and whose consciousness
transcends material realms has no problem doing exactly what you
describe. Their reward is in heaven, so to speak.

As for the rest of us, well that is really another matter. If you
are talking, as I assume you are, about living in the material
world, maintaining the consciousness of the ego self, and working
from a spiritual perspective from there, then the answer is
somewhat different.

Although it is only my opinion, it seems to me that you are
describing the process of becoming a spiritual punchbag, so to
speak. Although you may begin this in a well-intentioned manner,
it might be very hard to maintain. This is not so much a matter
of “slaying the ego” so much as repressing it.

The danger is that in trying to be always the “spiritual nice
guy”, you may end up gradually becoming more and more
dissatisfied at the reactions of others. You see, they probably
WILL take advantage, over and over again, without so much as a
“Thank You”. That, sadly, is human nature.

Are you prepared to deal with that? Are you prepared to become
known as the person from whom favors can be asked, over and over
again, without the need for as much as a “Thank You”?

If you are an advanced spiritual being, then maybe you can stand
it and even thrive on it. However, this is not the way for the
majority of people.

I think there is a self-esteem issue here too. Sure, you want
others to be happy and abundant. But you too need to be happy and
abundant as well. It should not be an either/or. In fact, I am
not sure how any other decent person CAN feel truly happy and at
peace, knowing that you sacrificed your own happiness and peace
for them to feel that way. It doesn’t make sense to me.

There is an element in this of the traditional view of
spirituality; that it involves sacrifice, poverty, sackcloth and
ashes. Nothing could be further from the truth. You cannot give
someone what you do not already have yourself. You cannot give
someone from the store of Love and Wealth and have it diminished
for yourself. A true spiritual view sees the store as infinite.
You cannot drain it, or diminish it. The more you reflect that
spiritual perfection in yourself, the more you can give of it to
others. The more you think that there is a lack (i.e. that you
should suffer so that someone else should benefit), the less able
are you to help others, because you are working from a
dysfunctional view of spirituality, happiness and abundance.

Hope that helps.

My name is Talmaci Cristina Beatrice. I want to ask you how can I
get in touch with my inner self. I’ve read something about that
…but I didn’t understand very well how can I do that.
Thanks for answering my question.

Well, I’ll give you a very short answer to that one. I wrote an
entire course on this subject. It’s called
The 7 Golden Secrets To Knowing Your Higher Self.

In brief, I would say seek inner guidance by awakening to your
inner realms. You can use journaling, meditation, dream analysis,
putting questions to your Higher Self and awaiting the answer,
and more. But my course really tells you all you need to know.

I have a question for you. How do you conquer fear, when you
think things are going just a little too smoothly? The reason I
ask this is because whenever I really wanted something in my
life, it seemed that it was such a struggle to achieve. This
time everything seems to be headed in my direction, and my dream
of opening a business is about to become a reality. Now all of a
sudden I’m feeling scared and unsure of what the future holds,
because it seems to good to be true. Do you have any suggestions
as to how to cope with this feeling? Thanks for listening.

Bev Onyschak

This sounds a lot like your subconscious conditioning getting
ruffled when things don’t happen in the manner it is accustomed
to. You know, sometimes we can be our own worst enemies.

Inside of us, we have a sort of psychological thermostat that
measures our comfort level. Initially, it gets set by a variety
of factors; parental upbringing and expectations, society, our
own expectations of ourselves. Once the level of that thermostat
gets set, it can be pretty hard to shift.

The conscious mind can will one thing and desperately want it.
However, the subconscious thermostat is set at a much lower level.
Hence, we tend to shift to what our subconscious is comfortable
with. Any major deviation from that comfort zone will cause the
subconscious to act in order to restore equilibrium. This is one
reason why most lottery winners end up broke in the end.

If I were you, I would focus on what you want, and do not focus
on what you don’t want. In other words, rather than dwelling on
the fear, and thereby causing that to grow, get a vision of what
you want. Make it even bigger and better than what you expect to
get so easily now. That way, your mind will be too busy working
on getting you what you want to start worrying about “bringing you
back into line” and giving you what you don’t really want at all,
but are perfectly comfortable with.

Also, work to increase the level of that internal thermostat.
This means analyzing yourself a bit, and working on a
subconscious level, maybe with hypnosis and/or affirmations. You
can look back into your past and your life experiences to try to
understand better your expectations, and the level that your
thermostat has been set at. Ultimately, though you have to work
at this subconscious level, and that takes time and effort. The
work of a lifetime cannot be undone in a moment (despite what
some of the “famous gurus” are claiming).

About Asoka Selvarajah

Dr. Asoka Selvarajah is a writer and teacher of personal growth and spirituality, and the author of numerous books and courses. His work helps people achieve their full potential, deepen their understanding of mystical truth, and discover their soul’s purpose.Subscribe to the Aspire To Wisdom list to receive more articles and resources to your inbox.

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  1. Hi Asoka,

    What can I say?! Another beautiful and inspiring article. It is the little things in life that are so important yet we tend to take them for granted or completely miss them out. I enjoyed it thoroughly and can’t thank you enough for sharing your wisdom with all of us. Looking forward to more!
    Warm regards,Yasminder.

  2. Amazing. Asoka, I agree 100%
    Beauty & Grace Shine from within.
    Self-Sacrifice creates LACK,

    The more power you have the more you can do for yourself and others.

    Since there is no self, and only a single conciousness (“GOD”), creating suffering for yourself is the same (OR WORSE) than harming someone else.

  3. Thank-you so much for your advice, Asoka. I read it over a few times and really thought about it. It’s so true that what we focus on grows bigger, and that is exactly what has been happening to me. I am now going to focus on what I want, instead of fearing what is going to “happen”. I know first hand that sometimes we can be our own worst enemies, and the “internal thermostat” that you talked about is something that I really have to increase. It’s important to be aware of the fact that we all have memories in our subconscious that can be very self-sabotaging….causing one to be fearful or unconfident. Since it is my subconscious that I need to work on, I will start using self-hypnosis and affirmations more often. After all, my store is all about the “mind, body and spirit”, so I better start working on myself! Thanks again for the excellent advice, Asoka.


  4. Concerning self-sacrifice…..

    Remember, the word sacrifice means “to make sacred.” Self-sacrifice means to make the self sacred. To make the self sacred, you must (in my opinion) have self-respect. How could you consider anything, including the Self, to be sacred without first respecting it?

    If you respect something, including the Self, you don’t take advantage of it, you don’t turn it into a punching bag or allow it to be taken advantage of or turned into a punching bag by others. That would be totally disrespecting the Self. (Not to mention probably enabling the others.) There is nothing sacred in that.

    Sacrifice has become synonymous with suffering which is a terrible twist of the true meaning. The true meaning is a much higher calling from the desire of the Self to reach higher spiritually, and has nothing to do with giving until there is nothing left. In fact, self-sacrifice should make you strong, never weak; happy, never depressed; fulfilled, never dissatisfied. If the negative aspects arise, then probably respect has been lost. Get back the self-respect before continuing with the self-sacrifice.

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