What does it mean to be of service?
Ask yourselves this question: “If I am going to be of service, what is my MOTIVE for wanting to do this?” Few people who claim they want to be of service ever PAUSE long enough to ask themselves this question, and yet it is by answering this question that we arrive at the necessary clarity of what it really means to be of service.
Motive, as you know from the teachings in general, is all-important. It is all-important in that determines what our approach towards doing something is, what actions we take, and what the results of our actions will be.
Now there are as many motives for doing something as there are actions we can take. But like with actions, motives too fall into two categories, namely, those that are life-supportive and those that are life-destructive. How do we determine which motives and actions are life-supportive and which are not? The answer here is pretty obvious, namely, what is our understanding of life?
Needless to say the vast majority of people believe that life is no more than the lives they know, that is, the lives they lead upon the dense physical plane as the little self, together with the hotch-potch of emotions and thoughts they regard as being part of themselves. And if this is what people believe, then this in itself is not wrong, and neither is it to be belittled or ridiculed.
Consequently we see today, perhaps more than ever before, a great number of very well meaning people the world over, doing what we may term good within their families, their communities, at their place of work, and often even elsewhere as in charitable organisations and various other institutions of welfare. Such institutions vary according to what people see as being the greatest need, and so we have social welfare, animal welfare, environment welfare and so on and so on. And all of this is good, and much of it is sorely needed.
But in what way does this bring us any closer to understanding what we mean by life, and how best to serve life? At the very best we have to acknowledge that this type of work, although much needed, is not necessarily serving life, for in far too many cases, the help given is not empowering but rather disempowering. And if we help but disempower by doing so, can we honestly say that we are being of service?
From this it follows that to be truly of service it is imperative that we understand what is life, how it works, and what its requirements are, for unless we do, we may well bring about huge harm with the very best of intentions.
You all know from the teachings that when we speak about being of service we mean being of service to the Life that indwells the physical form, no matter whether this is a human being, an animal, a plant, an insect or an atom. You also know from the teachings that the only true NEED of the indwelling life is to evolve its awareness, and that to this end it calls forth those challenges through which it can indeed evolve its awareness. So from the warrior’s perspective it is NEVER life-supportive to meddle or to interfere in the challenges of others, much less to try to fight their battles for them, for to do so, is utterly disempowering for the indwelling life calling forth those challenges.
All of this you know, but as of yet you know it in theory alone, and not from personal experience. I say this NOT to make you feel bad, or to disillusion you, or to dismay you, but rather so that you will understand that to TRULY be of service implies that YOU are at-one with your inner self, the self who is really the TRUE you, that is, the indwelling life. Until you are at-one with your true Self, you cannot serve your-Self, let alone other Selves. And this is the harsh truth of the matter.
To this end ALL of the teachings are geared towards you getting to know your true Self, and through that to come to the very REAL under-standing of ALL of life and its NEEDS. It is easy, all too easy to say that the only real need of the indwelling life is to evolve its awareness. This is the theory, and although this theory has been proved to be correct, the fact remains that without an INTIMATE knowledge of your TRUE Self, which is at-one with ALL of life, and therefore at-one with ALL other Selves, you cannot with any great degree of clarity distinguish between the DIFFERENT needs of different people.
Realise that no two people are identical, and therefore their needs also differ, even though BROADLY speaking the need is the same, that is, to evolve awareness. But because no two people are the same, their respective NEEDS in terms of how best to evolve their awareness differs, and sometimes vastly so. And so what is life-supportive for one person may well be life-destructive to another. And herein lies the enormous RESPONSE-ABILITY inherent within being of service.
I use the word “response-ability” not lightly, but with purpose, for it is only through our ABILITY to RESPOND to life INTELLIGENTLY that we grasp not only our own NEEDS, but also the NEEDS of those around us. In this respect those that work with me, are often aghast that I should say one thing to one person and then say the complete opposite to someone else. And this is equally true in my interactions with those who work with me. People often find it hard to grasp why I should be very supportive and encouraging to one apprentice, but totally cold and ruthless with another apprentice.
So as you can see from what I am imparting here, it is NOT a matter of merely WISHING to be of service, but rather is it a matter of asking ourselves, am I WORTHY to be of service? To be worthy of service has got nothing to do with being arrogant, or self-important or even hugely knowledgeable. No! I personally have often been served VERY deeply and VERY powerfully by those that may be termed of simple mind, and of no great importance within and to life. But why such people TOUCHED me VERY deeply, and brought about cataclysmic change within my understanding of life, is because they all, without exception, had an enormous SENSITIVITY that gave them what one may call a very SIMPLE but nevertheless PROFOUND knowledge of what it is to be hu-man, and all that is entailed in that, the good, the bad and everything in between. Consequently they had learned through their own experience not to judge and not to allow others to judge them.
Again, this is why upon the Warrior’s Path so much accent is placed upon learning to open the heart, and acquiring that true humility which en-ables us to accept without accepting, and to believe without believing. Once we can do this, we find ourselves standing free from any desire to judge, for in that clarity we can see that what may be life-supportive to one person may well be life-destructive to another. And unless we KNOW the TRUE needs of the person in front of us, how can we judge that what he is doing is life-supportive or life-destructive? No! Once again we can at best bring it back to ourselves and make it about ourselves.
In bringing it back to ourselves and making it about ourselves, we need only ask, “In what way am I uplifting and empowering myself in order to evolve my awareness? In what way am I uplifting and empowering those around me so that they too may evolve their awareness?” And in this light it is clear to see that although none of us can judge the actions of the individual, yet we CAN and we MUST look at whether the actions of ourselves and of those around us EMPOWER or whether they DISEMPOWER, and thereby hinder the evolution of awareness.
Once we have attained this much clarity it is now not so difficult to come to grips with what it means to be of service. To put it in a nutshell, to be of service means to MEET the true NEEDS of both ourselves and those around us, without judgement and without prejudice, but instead with UNDER-STANDING in the sense of ALWAYS striving to uplift and to empower, not only ourselves, but also those around us.
Needless to say, now it is also abundantly clear why ruthless honesty with self and with others is of such vital importance, for unless we are PRE-PARED to take the CONSEQUNCES of being ruthless, we only end up serving the little self, whilst the evolution of awareness becomes neglected. This in turn leads to the acknowledgement that the consequences of being ruthless are usually, although not always, unpleasant, in that we run the risk of alienating ourselves from the very ones we are endeavouring to serve.
This naturally leads on into unconditional love in action, and with this comes the realisation that to love unconditionally not only means that we are PRE-PARED to take standing up the consequences of our every action as we strive to be of service, but it also means having to be totally SELFLESS. And this is invariably where the wheels come off for most well meaning men and women who try to be of service. And this also brings us back to motive.
All too often, people want to be of service because of some SELF-CENTRED motive, but if one is trying to serve because of a self-centred motive, the wheels MUST and WILL come off sooner or later, for to be self-centred means that we are coming from the angle of the little self, serving the little selves of others. In other words we want to serve because deep down inside we secretly want to be rewarded for our service in some way, even if just to receive the approval or the admiration or the acknowledgement of others. But how can we justify this as being unconditional love in action? Unconditional means that we have NO expectations of any kind, and least of all do we expect to be thanked, much less loved.
I have often in the past used an analogy to make this point clear, and I would like to use this analogy again now.
Consider a wild animal that is wounded, and I would like to help it. I already KNOW that this animal is in pain and frightened out of its wits, and so will in all likelihood try to bite me should I help it. Yet my heart goes out to this animal, and with fibre of my being I would like to help it if I can. And so I approach it, and try to calm it down, so that I can help it. But if then it DOES bite me, am I going to call that animal an ungrateful beast, curse it and frighten it even more, thereby aggravating its pain? No! Of course not! I KNEW up front that this would more than likely happen, and yet I also could not just walk away from that animal because of my own fear of being bitten.
And this, my friends, is the very essence of true service, namely, having a deep and unfaltering love for and of life, the profound ABILITY to RESPOND INTELLIGENTLY to the NEEDS of life, whatever form that life may be in, and an unquestioning selflessness, in that you expect nothing in return for the service you have rendered. If then, as sometimes does happen, you do receive thanks, or acknowledgement, then this is a BONUS that was not expected, even though always gratefully accepted.