Sacrifice has two aspects – letting go and giving.
On one hand, sacrifice is about letting go of what we tend to hold onto. We sacrifice whatever is unnecessary or dysfunctional in our life, in our environment, or in our self. This includes emotional baggage and stagnate beliefs. It also includes un-useful worry and stress. It also includes un-useful and un-helpful personality patterns and habits.
Even more challenging, self-sacrifice is letting go of selfishness or a personal-desire – for the benefit of our family or friends, or for a larger purpose. In order to help others or our larger group, we may need to sacrifice our own personal wishes and desires, and especially our me-first concerns. Any sacrifice of desire is difficult, but with love we can make this sacrifice. Within our soul we have the will to make such sacrifices; we have the willingness to sacrifice.
But sacrifice is not just about giving up desires and things. It is also about giving out. Thus, the other aspect of sacrifice is self-givingness. It’s about what we are willing to give. And the most profound givingness is the givingness of our own self. We give our own self. In love and in service, we offer our self. This is the giving aspect of sacrifice. We give ourself to what is needed. We give ourself to others. We give ourself to the earth, to the world. We give ourself to love. This self-giving is our self-sacrifice; it’s our self-offering.
Give your self. Give the talents and the wisdom and the love you have. Give all of the good virtues you have. Give all of your positive best self-qualities and spiritual energies. Share yourself. This is what Jesus did. In love and sacrifice, he gave himself. He gave his spirit, his inspiring qualities, his wisdom, his heart and body to everyone.
Sacrifice is an unconditional love. We give of ourself without insisting that we should get this or that in return. The giving is spontaneous and in the flow, without first trying to negotiate what we should get in return. True self-sacrifice is giving up our “what’s in this for me.” We sacrificing our me-concerns and especially our me-first concerns.
A key to sacrifice is to realize a greater Purpose (or Value), then give of oneself to this. Or perhaps the Purpose of life is self-givingness – the giving of oneself to life. Or for example, a greater Purpose could be the nurturance of love, intelligence and goodwill in all humanity, and we could help in this purpose through our giving-shared radiance of these energies in meditation. Also daily in life, we can give of our self to the needs of the moment and of those around – and give our love, joy, and gratitude to life. So from the spirit within me, I can give from myself and I can give of myself.