Ayn Rand And I
Penny Cohen, LCSW
When I heard the movie, Atlas Shrugged, adapted from the book by Ayn Rand, was coming out in April, I remembered when I first read that book and her earlier book, Fountainhead. I was a young adult when I became fixated on the philosophy of objectivism – the philosophy Ayn Rand preached and teached. She believed in individual merit, meeting ones own needs, success and capitalism. God, faith, and the supernatural were beyond her realm of reason. She couldn’t see it, couldn’t believe in it, and it certainly was not something she could surrender to. Her philosophy was concerned with the Self and being Selfish. At the time I embraced her philosophy.
However, that all changed in my late thirties after having a spiritual experience while going through divorce. During a meltdown one evening while lying in bed I was embraced by an incredible radiance surrounding me and a warmth and love entering into me. With it came an insight that love is something we receive when we’re open to it and another insight about what I would do in life. While trying to understand the mystical experience, and that innate sense of unconditional love and wisdom, I studied Parapsychology, Buddhism, Shamanism and Kabbalah and began to believe in something outside myself, some force beyond the body and mind that influenced me. Over the years by learning to open to this force I felt supported, guided and blessed.
Like Kabbalah most spiritual traditions teach Selflessness. The goal to becoming selfless is following ancient teachings of doing for others, giving to others, and avoiding the Self. “Love they neighbor as thy self.” “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” When we avoid the Self we become drained, exhausted, and separated from our Self.
After studying spiritual traditions, and even being asked to write the book, Personal Kabbalah: 32 Paths To Inner Peace And Life Purpose, I realized that to become selfless we first have to develop a strong Self, a healthy ego and experience happiness and pleasure. It’s when we feel good inside and about ourselves and when our lives are in good shape, that we no longer have to think about ourselves and that’s when there’s an innate yearning to be there for others; to serve. I believe it’s important to marry the two philosophies; Selfishness and Selflessness. It’s by being Selfish that we become selfless.
I invite you to start becoming Selfish, and think about what you can do for your Self/Soul today that would not hurt or harm anyone else and will make you feel good about you. And take a look at my ten personal truths for Transformation And Bliss.