To Be of Service: A Path to Transformation
Our column this month focuses on being of service to others. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Why is being in service to others important on our journey to self awareness and discovery? There are several reasons. Let’s begin to explore a few.
When you decide to surrender into service, you discover that the most important things you have to offer are not things at all. It’s most often our time, coupled with compassion and kindness that are most essential.
When we are present to other people in a dedicated manner we shift in awareness from a me-consciousness to a we-consciousness.
How gratitude helps us serve
Additionally, we begin to cooperate with the law of giving and receiving. This universal law seems paradoxical to most. But what happens when we begin to be generous with our time and talents is we no longer operate from a place of lack or scarcity.
The result? Our cup fills and often overflows. This why so many ministries and churches for centuries have had tithing teachings and programs in place.
Once we begin to truly give in our lives that energy of generosity creates a reciprocity that changes our own prosperity. Through our giving we are truly acknowledging the abundance or fullness of our lives and giving from that place. This act opens us up to the reality of the blessings we have, which brings forth a natural feeling of gratitude. We can begin to pay them forward as a result of our gratefulness.
What we get when we serve
Another important aspect of service is the state of our being while giving. Our service must be performed with an open heart. Mother Theresa said: “We can do no great things – only small things with great love.”
Deep and meaningful fulfillment occurs from giving love. By beginning our service with loving behavior and intent, our focus is in proper alignment. We are not in service in order to “get” something in return.
This kind of loving, compassionate giving changes our embedded patterns of self-centeredness. We begin to feel and understand our common humanness and our interconnection to others. This is why it is often said that no true act of service, however small, is ever wasted.
Moreover, once we are ready to enter service with an open heart, it is important to approach others with a desire to learn. We get beyond assumptions on what is needed. Rather, we listen and learn so that we may be most respectful and effective with those we are reaching out to.
Holistic doctor and Kitchen Table Wisdom author Rachel Naomi Remen said: “When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole.” Our desire is to come from a place of wholeness, truly meeting the needs of those in our presence.
When we choose to remain in a space of service, the needs of the current situation become easier for us to discern; we actually become vessels of beautiful influence and effect.
To serve unconditionally in this way takes effort and, of course, it takes practice. But soon we become aware that in every act of giving is the experience of our own powerful transformation. We arrive at the realization that when we give, we actually receive.
The practice of generosity and service is most needed today. Coupling it with our own inner transformation creates powerful ripples in our lives and our communities.
May service and generosity be our practice, for practice makes progress.