We often wonder about what can make us happier, or “What is the purpose of it all?” Some of us have gone through some pretty painful experiences. I would even venture to say, we all have. We can probably all say we have had joyful experiences (I hope so). Sometimes, I have been so bummed out, I wonder, what is the point of being a human?
The thing is, the best way to get out of a funk, is to be in service. That is, be in service to someone else.
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What most Buddhists believe, and a lot of people on a spiritual path believe, is that we are meant to be in service, whether it’s to be in service to one another, or to create, we’re here to make the world a better place and make other people’s lives and life on our planet better.
People who might be completely financially set will continue to do good works for just that reason.
I’m writing this from my disaster of a messy kitchen today, and the reason it’s such a disaster is because my very dear friend is having a party this weekend. In my family village, when we throw a party, each of us contributes in some way to the event. We all tap into our individual skills and abilities and rally to make it a huge success. The crafty ones decorate, while those of us who are less artsy (like me!) will help with set up. My contribution to this party is to bring over a huge vat of vegetarian gluten-free pasta sauce to feed the crew who are setting up the party. It’s a great way to be in service to our village of friends, and I know they’re going to appreciate it.
Another way that I try to be in service to others is by interacting with the people I meet as I go about my day. What I am saying is that being in service, does not have to be a huge planned commitment. For example, I was standing in the lineup at the ice cream shop the other day and got to chatting with a woman in line. We were getting so excited about the different flavours that her boyfriend turned to us and said: “Wow. Were you two separated at birth or something?” When it was time to pay the cashier asked if it was going to be all together – she assumed that we were friends even though we had just met. Even just that short interaction was enough to brighten each others’ day. Believe it or not, this one small gesture of being friendly (and ridiculous) was a way that I know I was in service.
When we are out there connecting with people it feeds our biochemical need for interaction. It’s even good for introverts! So, the next time you are in that lineup, or the next time you’re invited to a gathering, take the opportunity to be in service. Don’t miss the chance to make your day – and someone else’s – just a wee bit nicer.
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From my home to yours,