Sit down and quietly think about what you have done in your life, because in the end, during the period of transition, you will have to face yourself. What have you done that is satisfying? Have you done anything selfless–totally selfless?

You go on doing your work and reaping the fruit, and then you hoard. In this way there can be no liberation. All the misery and chaos in the world is because of this. Somebody has an abundance; someone else doesn’t have even a square meal. This disparity and the suffering that we find are created by ourselves.

How can you be peaceful if your neighbour’s house is burning? How can you say you are at peace, and you don’t feel any warmth? Those who understand life, understand the ripples of life. We are like ripples in the vast ocean of bliss.

If you are suffering, I am suffering, though I am not aware of it. How can I live without suffering? If my foot is suffering, definitely my whole being is suffering. We are all limbs of one huge, one great prajapati (being)–the whole universe. How can we live happily? Let us learn not to hoard, but just to give. To whom? Not to strangers. I’m not telling you something impractical. Give to those with whom you live.

Do not work for yourself; that is not the way of life. You will become selfish. Learn to work for others. If the wife learns to work for her husband, and the husband learns to work for his wife, they will both be happy. Problems come when they both become selfish, demanding, and expecting. Learn the path of selflessness. That is the only way to liberation.

Learn to give to each other, and then slowly that learning will expand to the whole universe. One day you will feel that the whole universe is your family, and you are one of the members of that family.

On the path of selflessness there is great joy.

Selflessness is the singular expression of love.

Editor’s note:

This is an excerpt from The Essence of Spiritual Life, A Companion Guide for the Seeker by Swami Rama, published by Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, 2002.