Service is a beautiful word. It can mean very different things to people, depending on whether they are talking about sports, cell phones, the military or volunteerism. Here I use the word to refer to the practice of selfless giving—something that each one of us has the capacity to do.
- We contribute to discovering abundance: The radical shift from me to we: When you contribute you discover that often the most important things you have to offer are not things at all. You start to uncover the full range of resources at your disposal – your time, presence, attention and recognize that the ability to give stems from a state of mind and heart, a place much deeper than the material. Inspired by the possibilities this opens up in every moment, you begin to discover humble opportunities to contribute-everywhere. This process begins a shift from a me-orientation to we-orientation.
- We contribute to express gratitude: Such joyful gratitude becomes a foundation in service. When you acknowledge the fullness of your life you can manifest a heart of service in any situation. In that sense, service doesn’t start when we have something to give—it blossoms naturally when we have nothing left to take. And that is a powerful place to be.
- We contribute to transforming ourselves: Any time we practice the smallest act of service, even if it’s only holding a door for somebody, but doing it with a full heart that says may I be of use to this person that kind of sharing changes the deep habit of being self-centered. This is why no true act of service – however small – can ever really be wasted.
- We contribute to honoring our profound interconnection: Over time, all of those small acts, those small moments, lead to a different state of being. A state in which service becomes increasingly effortless. And as this awareness grows, you inevitably start to perceive beyond individualistic patterns: each small act of service is an unending ripple that inspires with countless others. When you contribute, you see life as a whole. With that understanding, we begin to play our part; first, by becoming conscious of the offerings we receive, then by holding gratitude for them, and finally by continuing to pay forward our gifts with a heart of joy. Each of us has such gifts like skills, material resources, connections, presence everything we consider ourselves privileged to have.
- We contribute to align with a natural unfolding: When we increasingly choose to remain in that space of service, we start to see new things. The needs of the current situation become clearer, We become instruments of a greater order and consequently our actions become more effortless. All of this indirect value – the ripple effect – has space and time to add up, connection with other ripples, and multiply into something completely unexpected. In humble fashion, these ripples continue to seed unpredictable manifestations. Such an ecosystem can have its plans and strategies but places more emphasis on emergent co-creation. So a lot of the ripples will remain unseen for years, some perhaps will be the basis for a seventh generation philanthropy. It doesn’t matter – because they are unconditional gifts.
What each of us can do, on a personal level, are such small offerings of service that ultimately create the field for a deeper change. The revolution starts with you and me.