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Spiritual Altruism

Sam Hewinson TEST 12 February 2024

Charity and altruism are commonly performed in a dualistic manner. A sense of giving something that you possess to a separate person, and often there is a positive effect to you as well, some kind of satisfaction that made it worth the price. This is all fine.

The same act from a nondual point of view has a different logic. With nonduality it becomes a rearrangement of objects within yourself, a redistribution of wealth you might say. The effect is different too, in that you actually feel the benefit given to the other.

Rather than feel a secondary satisfaction as the result of helping someone, with nondual actions you personally feel the benefit that you gave to another – and so do they!

You double the result. Rather than moving a thing from one person to another, you create a clone copy of it for both to enjoy. This is why I playfully describe teaching yoga as “the greatest scam in the world”, because everybody wins! The student feels excellent as a result of the process and their own effort, and so too the teacher feels that excellence in themselves, having midwifed it into being.

We must act altruistically as best we can in any moment. These actions are called akarma – actions without dualistic motivation. They are done for the betterment of the nondual whole entity. It may look like worldly charity, but it is much more.

Do what needs to be done because it needs to be done. Teach the yoga because this student desires to learn and therefore should be taught. That is all. Once you and your family have no fear of hunger, press your career into service for others in this way.

“Enlightened men, though they are constantly active, do nothing from personal motive. It is certainly not by apathy or neglect that they reach transcendence! Action devoid of personal motive frees you from karma, there is no harvest where there is no sowing.”

Yoga Vasiṣṭha V.40