We all know that words (written or spoken) don’t teach. Experience teaches. Words can’t change our life. Only the practice of changing our thinking can change our life. It won’t make a difference in our life how many good things we hear (live-recorded) if we don’t try them on for size in life. It’s like listening to a cooking show, and even though the recipes sound delicious, unless we try them we won’t be able to say “Mm-mm good” for our self.
However, words can be a “call to action” for us, a call for spiritual practice that, if we actually practice what we hear, can assist us in living the life we want to live, rather than merely talking about that life while we continue to live a life we don’t enjoy. If we want to live a life of joy, a life we enjoy living every day, being of service to the world around us is something we can do that is an excellent spiritual practice. Service is our spirit in action. Being of service causes Joy to arise in us, like champagne bubbles, and dance in our life.
To be of service may seem paradoxical because it is the act of expressing our self through selfless expression. We all know how good it feels to give freely of our self with no other need or intention than unselfish self-expression. Service gives hands and feet to the words, “We are one.” It is the animation of oneness, the outer movement of our inner unity. To freely give is a desire within us to consciously connect with the life around us without looking for anything but the good feeling of connection.
Every day offers us beautiful opportunities to be of service. Every moment offers us the opportunity to put action into our words, to act with lovingkindness, caring, and compassion; to notice a need and fill it simply because we can, and even more importantly, because we want to.
Selfless service might include spending a whole day volunteering somewhere. But, it has been said: “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” Service as spiritual practice is a way of life that includes every day small acts that flow straight from our heart. Like the simple act of offering a smile to someone who isn’t smiling. And, even if that person doesn’t smile back, we feel fulfilled, generous and expansive in our heart-filled giving.
Selfless service encompasses those small acts we do when no one is watching like picking up a piece of litter rather than passing it by; helping a spider inside the house go outside the house rather than squishing it; or acknowledging the beauty of a flower without picking it so it remains beautiful for others to see. Small acts, freely given, are like leaving love notes to life everywhere we go without any concern if anyone knows we wrote them or if anyone reads them. Being of service leaves a trail of caring as we walk this earth that lights up our path. We touch life in a way that illuminates our oneness with all that lives.
There is nothing, and no one, separate from us. We are One World, One Life, and One Universe together. No matter what our outer form may be (animal, vegetable, or mineral) we are sourced by the same Source, and we are the same Within. We are here to live a life of Joy, and enjoy each other as we live it. We are here to share all that is with all that is. Life is a heart trip of love, not a head trip of judgment, segregation, isolation, and the selfish concern about who deserves our giving and who doesn’t. When we live life in our head we spend our days thinking and worrying about what might happen if we stepped out of our house “like a shepherd” with our heart wide open to the world and everyone in it.
What we do has far greater impact on what we experience as the world around us because when we put our words into action and let our heart lead the way, we become aware we need one another in order for us to be who we are. ”We-thinking reflects our connection with each other. But “we thinking” isn’t just about our serving others. It is also about allowing others to give their gift of service to us. We understand that in order for us to give of our self, and discover more of our heart, we need someone or something to receive our giving. But sometimes we have a hard time letting our self receive. For instance, when someone asks us if we need help, is our response, “No I’ve got it!” If someone offers to let us go ahead of them in line, is our response, “No, I can wait.” Has someone offered to share anything with you that you turned down because, even though you didn’t say it, you believed that they needed whatever it was more than you did?
In order for us to be a good shepherd, in order for us to help “someone’s soul to heal” through their discovery of more of their ownheart, we need to be a good receiver, a space for another to give of themselves. We-thinking includes an awareness that all beings need to give as well as receive, even if they appear to have little to give. It’s allowing someone to serve us by giving us a helping hand that even though we don’t need the help, we understand they need to give it.
No one is more fortunate or less fortunate in a Universe that gives to all alike. “Me-thinking” causes us give out of pity, sympathy or duty. The Universe doesn’t need us to sacrifice or go without because It needs what we have to give to someone else. “I-have-more-than-them thinking” leaves others in a position of inferiority in our mind, unable to see them as sourced by the same Universal Source as our self. Such superiority blinds us to the grace and fullness of the spirit within another. We-thinking is oneness-with-the-Universe thinking. It’s oneness-with each-other thinking. It’s “there are no others” thinking. It is an elevated state of consciousness that transcends superiority and inferiority. There is more than enough for all. When we practice being a good receiver and well as a good giver, we share all that is with all that is.