By May Bleeker, 10 Feb 2011(updated 10 January 2013)
There is personal power in being of service
As I grow up and learn more about how to 'be' I've discovered the significance of being of service.
Think about this for a minute:
Everything you use, touch, and rely on in life is brought to you by someone else. Either directly, or indirectly.
The clothes you wear, the computer you use, that drink in your refridgerator, the refridgerator itself! Your shoes, the paper you write on, the plants in your garden.
Someone out there dedicated some of their precious human life to weaving the material, or overseeing the machines, or packaging the seeds, or screwing in the nuts and bolts, or mixing in the formulaes that make up the things that you use every day.
Without their everyday actions and the investment of their living hours in these tasks, many of the things you take for granted would not be there.
I spent many years trying to be as independent as possible, and also, at the same time, often felt quite isolated from others. I had no idea that these two things were connected.
Recognizing how the things I use everyday are made possible through the life investment of others, I began to think differently about the work I was doing.
Previously I believed I was working for my livelihood, or because I wanted to, or for some other 'me' reason. In this mode, there are good days and days you wish you didn't have to work!
I began to see that these very same things could be done with an attitude of reverence and giving-ness. I could do them for more than myself, if I intended it that way.
And then this changed the way it felt to do even the most mundane and tedious actions. And it changed the way I saw myself and others.
There is personal power in seeing yourself as part of the whole
How are your actions linking into this network of giving-ness? Have you thought about it?
You don't have to know how your contribution impacts the life of another. But if you dedicate your everyday actions, no matter how small or insignificant you may feel them to be, to a higher purpose, like love, peace, truth, or happiness - rest assured that you are being of service and doing something profound and significant.
Sometimes small actions on the part of one person, can have a huge influence on the life of another. And the person who performed the action might never know it.
Actions performed in the name of something more than you, like love or truth or kindness, have the power to transform both you and the receiver. That is the personal power I mean.
One day, while living in London and in the middle of a life crisis of epic proportions, I was trying to continue my life as normal, and was running for the bus.
Inside, for various reasons, I was having a very tough time. Outmoded defences were crumbling, and emotions I couldn't even name were threatening to overwhelm me.
On the outside, I was dressing normally, trying to act normally (e.g. not crying openly in public places), and trying to show up for work on time. This particular day the bus arrived early or I arrived late, and as I ran for it, the bus began to pull away.
As I'd often observed in these cases (usually when I myself was already on the bus and looking back at the poor sod who didn't make it on time), the bus drivers would see the person coming and accelerate away at a hectic speed, leaving the hapless runner in the dust.
But I was really trying to keep my life together and the little things seemed to count for a lot, and I just didn't want to be late!
This time, the bus driver saw me coming and (surprise!) instead of speeding up, he slowed down and waited, half in and half out of the lane. A kindess, just for me.
When I got on the bus I did the normal things, like say thank you, swipe my bus pass, and move to my seat. But inside me a huge well of thankfulness opened up. When I said thank you, there was so much weight behind it, but no opportunity to explain.
When I sat at my seat I had to bite my lips, look out the window and blink to try to keep my tears in. But they were tears of gratitude, not despair. This sense of gratitude began to permeate my life.
Yes, I know that the intensity of emotion was to do with the events in my life and not just this small act of kindness. But like a small lever that moves huge things, that bus driver's action, in a chain of events, was significant to me. And opened my heart in a way that was needed.
Not matter how trivial they might seem, his actions were crucial and necessary to me. Perhaps to him, it was just another boring day of driving the bus. Perhaps he just decided, on a whim, that today he would wait for the hapless runner trying to make it. He would never know that his actions touched me in a very significant way.
Do you see what I mean?
You need be no more or less than who you are right now. You are simply perfect. Trust this.
Just being yourself, and showing kindness in your smallest of actions, can mean everything to someone, who on a particular day, needs just exactly that. They might never have the opportunity to tell you what it means.
I'm beginning to see that what we are and what we do is part of one great whole. And you are really being most yourself in this world, when who you are and what you do is dedicated to something more than yourself. There is great personal power to be found in this.
We live our best lives through being of service to our brothers and sisters (who are not, in fact, separate from us, no matter how they might seem to be).
This doesn't mean you have to give everything up and become a saint or monk, or work for a non-profit organisation!
But rest assured that just doing what you do, whether it is sales, making toothbrushes, waxing piano's or manufacturing plastic cups, can be of utmost significance to others. For the highest good, or not, according to your intent. Does this give you an inkling of the personal power you have?
Even your everyday actions, that might seem to mean little, might actually mean a lot. And you might never know how very much your one small action means.
So next time you are stuck in traffic, waive that driver on ahead of you. Let that person in. Open that door. Bake that bread. Eat that sandwich. Pick up that dropped pen. Post that letter with love and appreciation for those that made it, will read it, will eat it, will need it, and who are living in this world with you.
Somehow, in the process, you will find yourself loving others and yourself, so much more. And feeling so much more loved in return.
What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself. - From A Course in Miracles