To be 'in service' in today's world is regarded as demeaning no matter whether the service is given freely, or for hire and reward. A misconception exists that by the very act of serving someone you are placing yourself in a position of subservience to the person that is being served. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, if it is your ego that is doing the serving then, yes, it is quite possible to feel that you are demeaning yourself by being a servant.
Serving Without Expecting or Desiring Any Reward
At the heart of all true service is the principle that you serve without expecting or desiring any reward for your act of service. Have you ever considered the nature of the relationship between a Master and his or her disciples? The disciple does not seek any reward, financial or otherwise, for serving his or her Master. The disciple serves simply out of a love for the manifestation of God's presence in that Master, and such a love demands no reward. That is a true example of service.
However, you should also recognize that very great responsibilities go with any form of service. The Master must at all times be very mindful of his disciple's point of consciousness and spiritual needs. The Master must always be conscious of the true nature of the act of sacrifice that is taking place and recognize that it is not he that is being served but the spirit of God in him.
Be aware that there should be great humility in the acceptance of any form of service. Indeed, the person who is being served should be more humble than the servant! Compare that with the concept of service that exists in your world today, where many people feel that the servant is somehow inferior to the person that is being served, that to be 'in service' is a very inferior form of work, reserved for those who cannot find a better career.
True Service Takes Place When The Ego Is Placed Aside
True service takes place only when the ego is placed aside. How easy it is to say that, but how difficult it is to do in practice, for you are all trained to identify with the ego-self from the moment of birth until the moment of death. That is why so few of you ever experience true joy.
It is only on very rare occasions that you have an insight as to what the reality of life should be, a state of joyfulness. Nevertheless, once you have recognized the reality of God's love, once you have experienced that moment of cosmic consciousness, then pleasure becomes a poor substitute. Once you have experienced the presence of a being who lives in a state of joy, a true Master, then you realize just how barren is a life devoted to the pursuit of pleasure.
Joy comes from the oneness of union with God and of God's Plan for you in this particular incarnation. Joy comes from those deep insights into the real nature of human life. Joy comes from witnessing a true act of selfless sacrifice, such as the birth of a child or the achievement of a spiritual goal. Joy comes from watching a beautiful sunset, from being at one with an aspect of Nature, be it animal, vegetable, or mineral. It is at such moments that you really experience the love of God, the love that passes all understanding.
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The Principle of Self-Satisfaction Does Not Satisfy for Very Long
Many people base their whole lives on the principle of self-satisfaction. They serve no one but themselves. They do not recognize the presence of God in anything or in anybody. They devote all of their physical energies to the pursuit and the creation of pleasure. As such, they tend to seek only the company of the people who so the same. Their relationship with the world around them is based solely on the criteria of what does or does not give them pleasure. But, as those of you who have followed this path well know, pleasure never lasts and, what is more, palls with repetition.
The ending of one pleasure simply signifies the beginning of the quest for the next pleasure. The ego can never be satisfied, can never be satiated with too much pleasure. So how are you to escape from this self-perpetuating cycle? By fulfilling your spiritual destiny in life which is service.
Your Spiritual Destiny is Service in Joy
Service is the inherent nature of your being. You were born to serve and for those who resist that planetary lesson, this Earth becomes a place of pain and suffering. Until you learn to release the ego and freely serve, even the least aspect of Humanity which stands before you, your life will be joyless.
See each day as a God-given opportunity for service. Recognize that you are not really serving any one individual but the manifestation of God in them. You may not feel very comfortable with their personality. You may not like the physical role they are playing. Be aware that you aren't serving them but the God in them.
Recognize that a joyful person is a servant of the Lord. They touch every thing and every person they meet and uplift all those who come into their presence. A joyful person transmutes negative energies and is a living demonstration of true union with the Source of All Life.
You are simply one aspect of Spirit serving another aspect of Spirit. You are all part of the same Body of Spirit and so you are serving yourself. Recognize that when you serve another, you uplift not just yourself and the person being served, but the whole Human Race, the whole planet.
In Becoming Kuan Yin, Stephen Levine shares the tale of Miao Shan, born centuries ago to a cruel king who wanted her to marry a wealthy but uncaring man. This is the story of how Miao Shan refused to follow the path her father had in mind and, instead, became Kuan Yin, the first acknowledged female Buddha who watches over the dying and those who work with them. Stephen weaves together story and practice and helps readers discover their own infinite capacity for mercy and compassion under difficult circumstances.
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Reprinted with permission from the Ramala Centre Newsletter. Visit their website at http://www.ramalacentre.com/