Who is this “I” that will become selfish and who are the “others”? This question comes from an egocentric mind that is trying to grasp concepts it encounters. The enlightened are not attached to people, places, things, etc. So the ego incorrectly concludes this would mean selfishness and not caring about others.
The enlightened know that there are no others…there is only the Self. In this way, the enlightened care for “others” just as much as the Self. The enlightened know that to help others is to help the Self. To love others is to love the Self.
Unlike some in the “nonduality community”, I do not claim there are no “others” in any sense. Nonduality does not mean non-differentiation. There are various patterns within and yet not separate from the One (i.e. Self). You can distinguish the patterns from each other. You can recognize a tree from a dog prior to Enlightenment and after Enlightenment. They are different patterns of the One. They are not really parts…as that sets them apart. Parts are an illusion. Separate “others” are an illusion. But you can tell the difference between one pattern and another pattern happening within Oneness. Each pattern could have different movements (or actions).
Kind of like how there are waves on the ocean. The idea of crests and troughs as being two separate parts is an illusion. There is simply ocean and the various patterns within. One pattern might be a current going north and another pattern might be the southern movement of another current. There is only the one ocean…not two, even though “parts” of it are doing different things.
Parts, things, etc. are conventions of speech and thought. They exists so we can talk about things. We mentally divide things when no such division truly exists…so that we can then describe and talk about them (what they are doing…for example). The ocean (and even more so the Self) has countless patterns within itself. You and I are but two patterns…but there really isn’t two “things” beyond convention of speech and thought so we can talk about what the two patterns are doing. Like one current going north and another current going south in the ocean. In reality, there is only ocean.
As there are patterns doing different things…one pattern can influence the other. Be it helpful or harmful…patterns can and do interact. In this way, I say the enlightened can care for and help “others”. The enlightened fully realize there are no others and there is only the Self. Self-loving, Self-caring, Self-helping, etc.
This means becoming truly selfish. Selfish is defined as lacking consideration for others or concern chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. If there is no “other”…then you don’t give consideration for others as there are no others. You only consider your Self. As there is only the Self, you are concerned chiefly with the pleasure of the Self. The entire world is within the Self…so all that is being considered and the concern is for the pleasure of all that.
I should also point out that detachment is different than love. We can do things out of love (selflessness…or Selfness depending on point of view)…instead of attachment and gain.
So (for example), out of love for your parents (which is the Self) you can take care of them. You don’t have to be attached to your parents. If you let go of your attachment to your parents, this does not make you uncaring towards them.
Finally, this whole question stems from the misunderstanding that attachment doesn’t really exist. It is a mental fiction – a mental process only. All is already detached and free, but it is only within our own minds that we mentally grasp and try to hold onto things. Mentally, you might be trying to hold onto and grasp your parents (therefore attached to them)…but is “being attached” a reality…is it so? Of course not. We can not truly possess anything. We can not really be attached to anything. The enlightened do not become detached by trying to let go of attachments, but through the realization that one can not be attached and the futility of trying to hold on to changing and transient things. Actually, there is no one to hold on…the one that tries to hold on is also a mental fiction. As Alan Watts once said, this is like an illusory hand grasping at smoke.