So I am not saying that when you become selfish you are not unselfish then – no, just the opposite. When you try to be unselfish you remain, deep down, selfish. When you become totally selfish a tremendously beautiful unselfishness happens in your life. But you are not even conscious about it, because if you are conscious it is false.
Things which are natural and healthy need no consciousness. Are you conscious of your breathing? Yes, sometimes, when something goes wrong, when something is ill, when the breathing is not as it should be. Then you become alert. You are alarmed, then you become conscious. Otherwise the breathing goes on day and night, twenty-four hours, whether you are asleep or awake, whether you are in love or in hate, whether you move or you sit, whatsoever you do the breathing continues. It does not depend on your being conscious of it – and it is fortunate that it doesn’t depend on your consciousness, otherwise you would be already dead.
If you had to be careful about it, if you had to do it, it would have stopped long before.
Unselfishness should be like breathing. You should be centered, then it happens. Unselfishness is not the opposite of selfishness, unselfishness is the by-product of being totally selfish. This is what I teach you. And all the churches and all the religions and all the priests and preachers, they have been teaching you just the opposite. They have corrupted humanity, they have poisoned your minds.
You cannot be centered and you are trying to help others, to be of service to them. The only help that you can give, the first and the very basic thing, is to be centered and rooted within yourself.
Yes, enlightenment is a selfish search.
This is half of the answer I would like to give you. Now the other half.
Because enlightenment is a selfish search, the most selfish, incomparably selfish. That’s why you cannot attain enlightenment through search. The search will make you a beautiful person – wise, compassionate, in a thousand and one ways – but not enlightened.
So, for me there exist three types of persons. One, the so-called religious person, the moral, the puritan, the so-called good, who goes on trying to be unselfish and remains selfish. Second, the person who knows there is no other way to be (to be selfish is the only way there is), who becomes centered and becomes unselfish – who through selfishness attains to unselfishness, as a by-product, he makes no effort to attain it. And the third person: who is neither selfish nor unselfish. He is the enlightened person who goes beyond duality, who goes even beyond self.
Hidden in yourself is no-self. Hidden behind you is emptiness, nothingness, what Buddha has called shunyata, absolute nothingness.
So the second part of the answer: You cannot attain to enlightenment through search. All search fails there, because until the seeker is lost enlightenment is not possible – and how can the seeker be lost if there is search? How can the seeker be lost if there is self?