The Sustainable Path of Service

The best path forward in this life, as far as I can tell, is to live a life of service to others while following along the path set before you, accomplishing useful things along the way. Many, I think, have a distorted view of what “service” means. It’s not “altruism” which is a word I take issue with as if sacrificing yourself for others to the detriment of your own needs and desires is a good, sustainable thing. Instead it’s about aligning your own needs and desires with the value you create for others. That’s sustainable service. You are doing what you love or what you might describe as your dharma, or that which you can’t not do, and the result is valuable to others. This is why I like Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s description of a dollar bill as a “certificate of appreciation.” This is where phrases like, “Help enough people and you’ll never have to worry about money” ring true for me. I think these are true descriptions of how the universe works, but I also think there has to be alignment with your own needs and desires. Sometimes people compromise and either do things to meet their own needs in ways that don’t really serve others in any truly meaningful or purpose-giving way or they pour themselves out constantly, denying and avoiding their own reality. It’s not just “do what you love” but “do what you love that serves others.”

Why does this work out so well? Because love feels good. When we love others as we love ourselves, we connect with the infinite power source of the universe. Love is an expression of connectedness or oneness. Energy is created, felt, and exchanged when we experience love. Sustainable love is the key to a long, productive, fulfilling life.

I wonder at times, is my brain just wired differently than others? Why do so many people not think this way and instead take a narrower view of “But what’s in it for me? How does this help me first and foremost?” My 12yo teaches me a little about this mindset, and I’m trying to tease out how it works. The Law of One has a concept called the path of service to others verses the path of service to self. Some other spiritual traditions describe serving light and love and God or serving darkness and hate and Satan. Or you could say Jedi vs. Sith, two forms of the force. This theme of selfishness, self-serving, wealth extraction vs. creating value for others and yourself is important to consider in all our actions. If what we do could serve others more while meeting our needs also, that’s the optimal path.

To me it just seems clear and obvious. When you serve others as you serve yourself, you get it all. Of course there are times of challenge and obstacles to overcome, but those are what make the story interesting. We’d be bored otherwise and the prizes we earn would be less meaningful.

Do you think about these things often when you evaluate your actions and the motivations behind them?

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