Many of us believe that the outside world determines our value, worth, and happiness. Experience tells us that this mindset renders us powerless. From this place, a life of grace, joy, and ease seems unattainable. We then form the misbelief that our choice is to either withdrawal or attempt to gain control of our situation. Either choice consigns us to pain, suffering, and disappointment.
Life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us.
Purpose is conventionally defined as what we do or become. When we move Purpose into the realm of personal philosophy our definition takes on a deeper, more individual meaning. Purpose, as a way of “being”, allows us to move from a place of production to a place of leading, protecting, and defending what we believe in.
The pursuit of Purpose will hurt, it will take time, and it will require dedication and willpower. In order to avoid temptations and distractions the path to Purpose commands sacrifice and the need to make self-honoring choices. There is nothing that one can accomplish on the “Goal Line” that substitutes the sharing authentically, and when this happens, the world benefits greatly.
Purpose in action is present when we share ourselves courageously and trusting that who we are, right now, is enough.
How Will I Serve the World?
Up until now, whenever I thought about service, I fantasized of doing something grand or heroic for others in need. Supporting social cause, saving people, and donating money were all ways in which I adopted service.
I served by serving others. What was my motivation? To make myself feel better? To get something in return? Out of guilt or shame? Service was something I felt I should do or needed to do. To be brutally honest with myself I served to get something in return. It was all about the payoff and what I, as in my ego, would receive. Is that why I felt incomplete? I was taking my energy and filling a vessel outside of myself. Though my ego was temporarily satiated, always looking for the next “hit” of recognition, my Soul was empty.
As was the case in truly uncovering my authentic self, and in discovering purpose, I found that the path to service is likewise an inside job. The subtlety of sharing my gifts originates from the same place. It is my belief that Service dovetails with Compassion. Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.
Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion. Regardless of our belief system Service is best served from the stored values that are embedded in our Purpose.
When inserting moral selflessness and kindness within our values by thinking of others our mind widens. Once we experience a genuine compassion to alleviate the suffering of others we forge a basic agreement within ourselves that leads to a foundation for a happy life. Compassion, equality, and forgiveness go hand in hand.
Though the world benefits greatly as we share our gifts, there are real benefits to our body, mind, and the timeless part of us. Alleviating the suffering of others, and practicing and promoting kindness and compassion, fends off depression and lessens the bodies stress response and changes the chemistry in the brain.
Service as a wellness strategy for Body, Mind, and Spirit sounds appetizing, actually tasty!