Being of Service, an Excerpt from Practical Enlightenment
by Ariel & Shya Kane
âI donât know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.â â Albert Schweitzer
Laurie showed up with a spring in her step and a noticeably lighter demeanor. There had been a festival in town and she had taken part. In actuality, she had seen little of the entertainment, nor had she partaken of the rides and activities. Instead, she was âin charge of beans.â The gathering was a community outreach project produced by her church and she had spent the day at the outdoor barbecue serving beans. We could tell that she came away well-fed.
There are infinite possibilities for service. In your own community there are bound to be plenty of pre-existing avenues or you can create some of your own. Throughout the world there is a grass roots movement to create Say YES to Your Life! Meetups where people volunteer to lead evenings dedicated to sharing their own experience of Practical Enlightenment, in effect giving it away so that others can have the experience for themselves. The producer of our Internet radio show Being Here has selflessly volunteered her time since 2007, making it possible for millions of people to have a taste of Instantaneous Transformation. Teams of volunteers in our transformational community set up our course rooms and manage supplies in order to support others in discovering what is possible for them.
If you want to experience true happiness and well-being in a sustained manner, there comes a time when you must take your attention off your own survival and getting somewhere, and discover how to take care of others and the environment around you. The challenge is that most people think that if they take their attention off their own survival, they wonât get what they want or need in life.
Taking care of the people around you supports you in having a brilliant life. But you canât take care of others to get ahead, or to achieve anything. Itâs got to be a pure act of being of service â not for what you are going to get out of doing it. Here is an example of this as told by Shya:
There was a time, many years ago, when I was managing a group of volunteers at a workshop. As we prepared the room before the seminar participants arrived, there was a couple who were complaining that they had to be there. They had volunteered because, at the time they had agreed to come, somebody had told them that they would get a lot out of assisting (in being of service to others). So they were not assisting to assist, they were assisting to âgetâ something for what they did. They brought the same complaint they had about other areas of their lives to this project. So I suggested to them that they go home because they didnât really want to be there. Iâm sure that when they got home they didnât really want to be there either.
Itâs funny, when you have your attention on you and how you are doing, for the most part, youâre miserable. Being of service allows you to stop focusing on yourself and striving to get somewhere âbetter,â which is a gift. Since no two things can occupy the same you at the same time, being of service allows you to take your attention off you and the machinations of your mind. Your mind can never be satisfied. Whenever you achieve something or acquire something it automatically races off to want the next thing as if where you are and how you are being is not sufficient, as if you are not already perfect, just as you are. Again, it is all about being here and saying Yes to your life in this moment rather than getting somewhere. But if you take care of others in order to manipulate yourself to be happier or more fulfilled it wonât work because in reality, you still have attention on you and how you are doing â the mind is sneaky that way.
IF YOU WANT TO BE OF SERVICE, START WHERE YOU ARE
Do you have an impulse to volunteer, to step outside of yourself, to make a difference with others? Itâs easy. Start where you are. Take a look at the things you are passionate about and share them. Take a look at what is going on in your life and know that you are a gift and share that. We have friends who encourage others to accompany them in a full spectrum of activities that they are interested in: âJoin me in Hot Yoga,â (a great way to ensure that you will exercise, by the way.) âIâm doing a new nutritional program and I am really excited about it. Want to do it with me?â (A great way to spur yourself to keep to your word when dieting). âI found a new coffee bar and I am sure you will love it.â Or âI just heard an audio book that you should try.â
Itâs OK to be excited about your life. Itâs OK to be wildly enthusiastic about what you are up to. Itâs also OK if you feel upset. Sometimes people mistakenly think that they have to be in a âgoodâ mood or the ârightâ place to be fit to share themselves or give of themselves to others. Simply taking the attention off your story and how you are doing and giving of yourself pulls you into the moment. For if you resist where you are you get lost there. But if you include your current state as though it is perfect, leave it alone and move on, you are free.
Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UK, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their four award-winning books. Â Their newest book, Practical Enlightenment, is now available on Amazon.com.