It’s become clear to me that service is essential to a healthy and whole life. For me it’s been essential to healing. Focusing on others, if nothing else, takes the focus off ourselves. There is freedom in that in a multitude of ways. I love how Deikman speaks below to how service is a kind of knowing. I have found this to be true. In connection there is an inherent sort of knowing.
Service is usually seen as a moral issue,a matter of doing, of being “spiritual” in an instrumental way. I suggest, however, that service is best understood as a matter of epistemology; it is itself a way of knowing and is one that goes beyond conventional empirical epistemologies. Service is a way of knowing in our connection–at a deeper level– with a reality much larger than our object selves.
What we call “the spiritual” pertains to the connected aspects of reality; service enables us to experience that kind of connectedness. The function of this connectedness or knowing is seldom appreciated; nevertheless, service is one of the most direct routes to the spiritual–a route often obstructed and confused by moral preaching, religious mythology, and everyday assumptions about the motivations and possibilities of human beings. — Arthur Deikman (read more here)
More on Service:
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time. — Shirley Chisholm
And one more:
Helping, fixing and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul….
…Serving is different from helping. Helping is not a relationship between equals. A helper may see others as weaker than they are, needier than they are, and people often feel this inequality. The danger in helping is that we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity or even wholeness. — Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen