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Which Myself Should I Be FOR?
"If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?" - Rabbi Hillel
If I am not for myself, who will be? To begin with, what is the "myself" that I should be for? The ego? The one formed by the prejudices and perspectives of the day, the group, the family, the culture? Or the one that lies within and is connected to the universe, to all? That is the question that faces us today and every day. Which myself?
And what does it mean to be for myself? It doesn't mean that "I" should get the job, the status, the money, the girl, the prize, the admiration or even the security. It means that I connect to my deepest self, understand my connection to the universe, and nurture myself and my soul from the perspective of the whole. It means I am for my true self, my inner self, rather than for my ego. I should never abandon self-care and call that Godly, but my self-care must be based on my true needs and my true needs are my needs as part of the whole. That is myself and that is how I can be for myself.
If I am only for myself, what am I? To be only for myself is not to be for my "self" at all. On the contrary, to be only for myself makes me narrow, anxious, alienated, separate and ego dominated, which can never be nurturing to my true self. My happiness and joy come from feeling part of, cooperative, in the flow, connected to the Divine. Being focused on the ego blocks that flow and makes me sad, sick and stingy. Ultimately, I despise myself. That is not for myself.
If not now, when? My days are numbered and I could pass my whole life in the dungeon of ego. For that reason alone, I need to act now. Beyond that, every day that I devote to the ego makes it harder for me to break the pattern and free my soul. Every day that I devote to the ego makes the task more difficult, as I become more and more invested in the paltry existence that I have created. But even beyond that, and perhaps most importantly, I am part of the collective that is making life hell on this planet. If I don't act now, I am not feeding the collective shift, which alone might save the present and transform the future. There is no time to wait. Our world is screaming with pain and our Earth is fighting back. In these perilous times, "If not now, when?" means that if we don't act now, there will not be a later. We are running out of "then."