At the Back of the North Wind - 6

Thoughts on selflessness, from At the Back of the North Wind (George Macdonald, 1871) in Chap XVI:

She was looking gloomy, and his father was silent; and indeed except Diamond had done all he possibly could to keep out the misery that was trying to get in at doors and windows, he too would have grown miserable, and then they would have been all miserable together. But to try to make others comfortable is the only way to get right comfortable ourselves, and that comes partly of not being able to think so much about ourselves when we are helping other people. For our Selves will always do pretty well if we don't pay them too much attention. Our Selves are like some little children who will be happy enough so long as they are left to their own games, but when we begin to interfere with them, and make them presents of too nice playthings, or too many sweet things, they begin at once to fret and spoil.

"Why, Diamond, child!" said his mother at last, "you're as good to your mother as if you were a girl–nursing the baby, and toasting the bread, and sweeping up the hearth! I declare a body would think you had been among the fairies."

Could Diamond have had greater praise or greater pleasure? You see when he forgot his Self his mother took care of his Self, and loved and praised his Self. Our own praises poison our Selves, and puff and swell them up, till they lose all shape and beauty, and become like great toadstools. But the praises of father or mother do our Selves good, and comfort them and make them beautiful. They never do them any harm. If they do any harm, it comes of our mixing some of our own praises with them, and that turns them nasty and slimy and poisonous.

(cf Unselfing (2009-01-14), Unselfing Again (2009-11-01), Einstein on Self (2010-01-31), It is Thou (2014-09-24), Mantra - For Us (2015-11-28), No Me (2016-01-18), Mantra - No Others (2016-06-27), Mantra - Unself Together (2018-03-30), Less I (2018-05-26), ...) - ^z - 2020-07-10