Answer: What kind of spiritual work is this? You change one desire for another as if in the market, that’s all.
For example, I wanted to lie on the couch and watch football. And the wife says: “Go to the market and buy potatoes.” I think what’s better for me: watch the football game or go and buy potatoes.
If I do not go to the market, the children will remain hungry, the wife will make a scene, and it will cost me more. I make a calculation: I better skip a football match and go buy potatoes.
There cannot be altruistic calculations in our world. Man’s highest impulses are entirely selfish.
Question: What does it mean to engage in spiritual work without a selfish calculation? Can you give an example?
Answer: In our world there is no such example.
Let’s say I transfered a portion of my salary to the starving in Africa. Nobody knows about this. And the people of Africa do not know they get it from me, and I will never get to know them, I just transferred it. So why did I do this? Where did I get energy and desire to do so?
The point is that if we only are the selfish desire to enjoy, then we get some sort of pleasure from our actions; otherwise I would not have the strength to make a single movement. The atom could not spin, molecules and electrons could not circulate in our body if we did not see the benefits before us.
And the more intangible this benefit is, for example, a psychological or romantic benefit, the more energy it can give us. For instance, in order to earn my food and have a good dinner, I can spend a day, but in order to earn love or to take revenge on someone, I’m ready to spend my whole life. That is, there is already a calculation concerning desires. “Love and hunger rule the world.”
Question: What motivates a person in spirituality?
Answer: Also love and hunger, only the calculation is different: I shift the importance from the love for myself to others—to the entire humanity. This gives me the opportunity to experience the Creator, to be like Him.
From KabTV’s Lesson in Russian 12/18/17