Today, I was thinking about our purpose in this life. If there is any one answer, it is about service. In one of my last posts, I mentioned that if we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem. By serving our fellow humans, we are part of a solution – one of making the world a better and happier place.
How often do we go about our business, hardly acknowledging the existence of another soul unless we have to? How many people do we pass on the street without as much as a smile or a nod? How often do we see someone in distress, and assume that someone else will help them. Our nation is in turmoil in many ways because of attitudes like this: Other people’s problems are other people’s problems!
Sadly, this is not true. We must all inhabit this planet together, and like it or not, the world’s problems are our problems. Our neighbor’s problems are our problems. Our differences aren’t bad, they are just different. We might be able to get by with ignoring or criticizing our fellow humans, but sooner or later, karma is going to throw these problems right in our face if we don’t acknowledge and accept our role as a part of a one great population working and living together to improve our experience.
Service does not mean being a slave. It doesn’t mean that you have to risk your own safety and security. But if you see someone experiencing a challenge, think of the Golden Rule. What would you want someone else to do if they saw you in the same situation? I often see people going through the challenges and dilemmas in their life, and they start reaching out for answers. What they don’t usually realize is that the answers are usually right there in their hearts, but they are either too distracted, or too self-absorbed to realize the truth that is staring them in the face.
So when you are having a challenge, my advice is to take a step back and look at the situation objectively. Pretend you are watching a movie on Lifetime network or perhaps the news. You are an innocent bystander, observing someone else’s circumstances. What advice would you give that person? What makes the most sense for that person’s highest good and that of everyone concerned? There’s your answer. It may not be the easy answer, but it will be the right one every time, as long as you don’t let your personal fear, worry and doubt start getting in the way.
Back in the early 60’s the science fiction television series The Twilight Zone featured an episode based on a short story by Damon Knight, where a race of beings from Mars came to Earth with a delegation of peacemakers. Their stated goal was to create an alliance with the people of Earth, and share in civilization across planets. People were going on trips in spaceships to a far off planet to visit, learn and share. As a gift to the people of Earth, the Martians presented a book, written in their language.
Scientists did their best to translate the book, but all they could determine was that the title was To Serve Man. A noble title and a noble idea: Be of service. How comforting to know that our neighbors in space wanted to help us on our path.
After this alliance had been created, the scientists started slowly breaking the code. Suddenly they realized that the book was not a peace-keeping treatise, but rather a cookbook! “To Serve Man” was not about the aliens being of service to us (how selfish for us to assume so!), but rather our people literally being served as a meal for someone else! Our visions of peace and love were replaced by fear as the people of earth realized that they were being herded to Mars to ensure the survival of a race of aliens!
Of course, we aren’t going to be eaten by Martians. But our fear, doubt and worry about other people’s intentions can eat at us and destroy our willingness to be of service to each other. We become so focused on our selfish needs (like expecting others to be of service to us), that we lose focus on the fact that we aren’t much help to anyone else without being forced into it!
If the idea of being of service scares you, start small. Offer a smile or a “Hello.” If you see a person or family in need, and you’re concerned about giving them money, buy a gift card from a grocery store or restaurant. If your neighbor is having health issues, offer to help around the house, or cut the grass, or run an errand. If a family member is struggling with unruly children, offer a shoulder to cry on. These are little things that add up.
As we start accumulating random acts of kindness, we slowly change the energy of our people, our community and our world. It doesn’t take a lot, and the burden should not be great on any one person. Do what you can. We rely on Divine Order to help us, but instead of looking to God or someone else to make it happen, be a part of it. We’re all part of a greater whole, and those little gifts we give to serve our fellow humans is Divine Order to someone who is in need! We tend to look outside of ourselves, often to God, to supply what is needed. Too often we fail to recognize that the “God” we are looking for, and what is most needed, is the love and kindness of a fellow human being. Sometimes our turn comes around to provide that kindness. Is that so bad?
When is the last time you saw “service with a smile?” People’s “bad energy” makes us feel bad, and we spread it around even more, like a flu. Give your own service with a smile, even in the smallest ways, and it will become just as contagious, but in a good way!
Blessings to you.