01 Dec Being of Service
Laurie showed up with a spring in her step and a noticeably lighter demeanor. There had been a festival in town and she had taken part. In actuality, she had seen little of the entertainment, nor had she partaken of the rides and activities. Instead, she was “in charge of beans.” The gathering was a community outreach project produced by her church and she had spent the day at the outdoor barbecue serving beans. We could tell that she came away well-fed.
There are infinite possibilities for service. In your own community there are bound to be plenty of pre-existing avenues or you can create some of your own. Throughout the world there is a grass roots movement to create Say YES to Your Life! Meetups where people volunteer to lead evenings dedicated to sharing their own experience of Practical Enlightenment, in effect giving it away so that others can have the experience for themselves. The producer of our Internet radio show Being Here has selflessly volunteered her time since 2007, making it possible for millions of people to have a taste of Instantaneous Transformation. Teams of volunteers in our transformational community set up our course rooms and manage supplies in order to support others in discovering what is possible for them.
If you want to experience true happiness and well-being in a sustained manner, there comes a time when you must take your attention off your own survival and getting somewhere, and discover how to take care of others and the environment around you. The challenge is that most people think that if they take their attention off their own survival, they won’t get what they want or need in life.
Taking care of the people around you supports you in having a brilliant life. But you can’t take care of others to get ahead, or to achieve anything. It’s got to be a pure act of being of service – not for what you are going to get out of doing it. Here is an example of this as told by Shya:
There was a time, many years ago, when I was managing a group of volunteers at a workshop. As we prepared the room before the seminar participants arrived, there was a couple who were complaining that they had to be there. They had volunteered because, at the time they had agreed to come, somebody had told them that they would get a lot out of assisting (in being of service to others). So they were not assisting to assist, they were assisting to “get” something for what they did. They brought the same complaint they had about other areas of their lives to this project. So I suggested to them that they go home because they didn’t really want to be there. I’m sure that when they got home they didn’t really want to be there either.
It’s funny, when you have your attention on you and how you are doing, for the most part, you’re miserable. Being of service allows you to stop focusing on yourself and striving to get somewhere “better,” which is a gift. Since no two things can occupy the same you at the same time, being of service allows you to take your attention off you and the machinations of your mind. Your mind can never be satisfied. Whenever you achieve something or acquire something it automatically races off to want the next thing as if where you are and how you are being is not sufficient, as if you are not already perfect, just as you are. Again, it is all about being here and saying Yes to your life in this moment rather than getting somewhere. But if you take care of others in order to manipulate yourself to be happier or more fulfilled it won’t work because in reality, you still have attention on you and how you are doing – the mind is sneaky that way.
IF YOU WANT TO BE OF SERVICE, START WHERE YOU ARE
Do you have an impulse to volunteer, to step outside of yourself, to make a difference with others? It’s easy. Start where you are. Take a look at the things you are passionate about and share them. Take a look at what is going on in your life and know that you are a gift and share that. We have friends who encourage others to accompany them in a full spectrum of activities that they are interested in: “Join me in Hot Yoga,” (a great way to ensure that you will exercise, by the way.) “I’m doing a new nutritional program and I am really excited about it. Want to do it with me?” (A great way to spur yourself to keep to your word when dieting). “I found a new coffee bar and I am sure you will love it.” Or “I just heard an audio book that you should try.”
It’s OK to be excited about your life. It’s OK to be wildly enthusiastic about what you are up to. It’s also OK if you feel upset. Sometimes people mistakenly think that they have to be in a “good” mood or the “right” place to be fit to share themselves or give of themselves to others. Simply taking the attention off your story and how you are doing and giving of yourself pulls you into the moment. For if you resist where you are you get lost there. But if you include your current state as though it is perfect, leave it alone and move on, you are free.