Last week I was instructed to write about the nature of service. I left it to focus on other stuff and then talking to a friend yesterday it came up again. “How can I serve others because I know when I’m serving others I am also serving myself” and I realised the ‘service’ thing needs to be addressed.
Service is big. One of those popular ideas we can all grasp that is designed to give us a sense of altruism and purpose. It’s like picking a ‘caring’ profession without actually doing the hands-on work. But how do you understand the nature of serving others?
I’m curious because I think the idea gets tangled in the language of exchange just like giving. See, if you give someone a present and expect gratitude then you’re not giving anything. You’re conducting a trade. To give is to be separate.
When you give, you believe there is an exchange of value. Something you have is transferred to someone who does not have. This someone is outside of you and the thing you transfer is yours to give. This makes you separate. When you believe that everything is energy, that you are energy, that life is an expression of the Infinite, then you know there is no exchange. There is only presence and experience and embodied consciousness.
The dance of energy is a constantly moving experience of this moment. There is no fixed address from which to give and take. You work to earn money to buy stuff that you own and choose to share in the language of exchange. From Oneness there is the experience of this moment with the props of life that enable you to have a stand point from within a living culture that is also constantly moving and in a dance where there is no fixed address from which to state one aspect is influencing another. The whole as aspects is dancing into new forms, new configurations of experience.
The whole on all levels – cell, organ, system, body, household, family, community – are all arbitrary labels that hold no real separation fro each is permeable and culturally constructed. The only whole that you can know is All That Is which does not exist in linear time-space so it’s not quantifiable in that sense. And if the only whole that you can know is not quantifiable then what is it?
How can you know where your senses start and end? How can you know where your soul connects to the Infinite? How can you know who is serving whom when there is no separation?
It’s this last question that I’m really curious about. For me the only sense of service is “how does this moment serve me?” Not as a future consequence or a lesson or a reward but right now. How does this headache, this student, this cold morning serve me?
I know you are used to seeing symptoms as signs of something you’re not paying attention to or of ways to be kinder to yourself but I’m going to tell you something about the new way of operating on the planet that does not make you wrong. A way that does not make you wait or leave you wondering how you need to bolster your self-esteem in order to get what you want is called Oneness.
There are definitely some changes to the system you’re used to. No more drive-thru lifestyle orders. No more enlightenment or levelling up. This Oneness stuff is pretty radical. There’s not even any right or wrong. Best of all, it’s not a convincing thing. You don’t have to believe it!
If you start reading and realise that you know what you believe (and it’s not Oneness) then go for it! Do that, have that, be that! Stop trying to follow other people’s instructions and stand in your own sense of what works. If that’s service as exchange, then that’s what it is.
But if you’re drawn to Oneness and know somewhere inside that it’s actually the thing that you’ve been believing all along (even though you followed other ideas along the way) then give yourself a chance to know service in a new way.
Service from Oneness
Focus is important. You have heard the spiel about intention, right? Well, intention is basically what you are intent or focused upon (not what you believe is going to happen or what you want to happen as a consequence of doing something imbued with the energy of your ‘intention’).
Wherever you are right now, you are focused on something. It could be the thing you want to learn, the fact you don’t know yet, the to-do list that keeps you ticking boxes so you can deserve to feel accomplished or worthy of whatever you are otherwise denying yourself.
What are you focused on?
How does that serve you? How does looking at the world the way you do right now, serve you? How does it get you what you want? Because somewhere that’s exactly what it’s doing. Your focus, your opinion about what’s going on, about what’s important in this moment is serving you by getting you what you want.
What you want is not what you wish for. What you want is to feel safe in a world that recognises you as a gift and values who you are (not what you do). You want this in the only way you know how to make this true. Money makes you feel safe so you focus on that. Big strong violent people make you feel safe so you focus on that. Being invisible makes you feel safe so you focus on that. Being vulnerable and needy makes you feel safe so you focus on that.
There are no rules that say you want happiness as a function of happy experiences. Most people focus on what gives them a sense of control. Making judgements on other people and being in a position of powerlessness where life is happening to you, is a comfortable control space. Your boss, the government, big corporations, the other drivers, the local council, idiots in general, are all given the power to decide how you feel. You want to know there is a reason, you want to know life makes sense, so you make up a story about how all of these things influence who you are and how you navigate the world.
“I can’t do xyz because …” is just one example. “I wish I had more xyz so I could …” is another. “If only that [person, job, car, system] would be more/less xyz, then my life would be …” is probably the most commonly used. It’s all about other people needing to change or other systems or objects needing to be different. What if nothing had to be different?
What if “how does this serve me?” replaced all of those pondering notions of control, so that you could focus on this moment as life happening for you?