BY SWAMI CHETANANANDA
An attitude of service is one of the essential elements in the emergence of any inner life that you hope to cultivate. When we have an attitude of service, we will find that we no longer need to defend our ego, to defend ourselves and our actions. Instead we live a life of caring and consciousness, awareness and thoughtfulness.
Whenever you find that you become aware, in any area of your life, that you are defending yourself in some circumstance, I would like you to consider that perhaps the only thing that is ever possible for you to defend is your stupidity. You don’t need to defend your intelligence or your brilliance or your talent or your capability. If you have a little bit of strength, you can stand in that. In fact it will exist, it will shine out in the end after every challenge. It is only in our weaknesses and in our stupidity that we get ourselves locked in struggles and become defensive. That is when in fact we accumulate trauma. It’s only when we are locked and stiff that we can absorb and maintain any kind of shock and trauma to the system. When we are relaxed and flowing, any force that enters into this field we can move with. We can adapt to anything.
So a life of service brings us an attitude of openness and connectedness and participation in the lives of everybody whose life we touch. Now, I am not saying that having an attitude of service means that you should go out and start doing charitable work. That doesn’t really matter. What I am saying is that when you meet your parents or your brothers and sisters, it is very important that you have an attitude of service. That attitude of service denies you the opportunity to take anybody for granted and not make contact. It requires of you that you are constantly aware of that creative energy happening within you and connecting from that deeper place in you to everybody that you interact with. You are not trying to impose your will or even your limited idea of what is right on anyone, but embracing and appreciating all the diversity in life. For each person that you connect to, you can be a source of energy that they can use to make a change within themselves.
Service is appropriate in your family and personal life. An attitude of service is also equally important in your office and in whatever professional work that you do. This attitude allows you to come into line with the people that you work with, so that there is a sharing going on in that environment. That kind of sharing allows for it to be a much more rewarding experience. It is going to reduce conflict and facilitate flow. In that case, everybody is going to feel better about everybody else, and you will all be able to focus more on the goals of the organization that you are working with. You will be encouraging that organization to be more true to its mission, and therefore more efficiently and more capably supporting that organization in making a contribution to whatever area of society it is intending to affect. Only those of us who actually work in corporations with an attitude of service will be able to create a sense of alignment among all of the people who work there to begin to influence their function in a way that will genuinely serve our societies, that will genuinely cause those people to function in a way that is responsible to the environment and responsible to the communities in which they exist.
Our only hope for sustaining life on this planet is that all of us have an attitude of service and that we bring that attitude of service to every aspect of our lives. As we bring that aspect of service to our life, we are bringing our understanding of the unity of the whole. We are bringing a mystical, profound spiritual awareness into the differentiated world in which all of us move around in everyday, and we are demonstrating the power of that awareness to awaken and transform human beings, restoring health and vitality to their bodies, clarity to their minds, expansiveness to their emotions. We are allowing the world to become healthy again.