Yesterday I had a some interesting insight on the theme of giving, service to others. I started out the day by preparing breakfast for more than a hundred people at Ängsbacka, a yogic retreat community. This was my designated task and I did it without complaining, yes, I quite enjoyed it, but it wasn’t entirely out of love for all the guests, rather something that had to be done.
Later on I picked up my yogamat for some private practice when my breakie colleague asked if she could join and if I would guide her. I hesitated for a fraction of a second because I realised that my own practice wouldn’t be as good if I guided her, and then I said that of course I would.
Same day we had an hour of sharing in our breakfast team. Sharing is an opportunity to speak one’s truth without interruption with a few people around you who you know give you their full attention and empathy. When asked whether I was going to participate, again I had a short moment of hesitation with the feeling that, I don’t really have anything to share, perhaps I’d rather chill out alone instead. But after that very brief moment I agreed to participate, it was no big sacrifice for me.
What I didn’t realise at first was that these were three perfect opportunities to give my gift, to selflessly serve others. I was so preoccupied with “what’s in it for me” that my initial reaction was not feeling happy to be able to be of service, but rather that I may miss out somehow.
I want to cultivate my spontaneous willingness to give, so that next time I have an opportunity to be of service, my initial response will be Yes!, without hesitation and directly from the heart. I challenge myself to that!
When Buddha once was asked how he had energy to serve people all of the time he answered, “If you knew what I know about giving, you would be giving every day of your life.” Giving is true happiness, I know that from experience.
I’m very much inspired by tantric philosophy which talk a lot about selfless service, check this quote out, I think it says alot:
“If we consider that the happiness we experience in our lives arises through the efforts, support, and kindness of others, it can seem indulgent to remain preoccupied only with our own welfare. We live in mutual interdependence. On the basis of our own experience of suffering, our empathy and capacity to have compassion for the suffering of others grows. As a natural outcome of this compassion, we can recognize the need to respond to the suffering of others in a meaningful way. This is not sentimentality or compulsive caring, but the desire to be of real lasting benefit to others to repay their kindness.” – Rob Preece, psychotherapist and meditation teacher
It’s fun to look back in my life and realise that I “knew” this stuff 10 years ago. I remember how I talked about it. Now I have a much deeper understanding of this whole dynamic. Thank you teachers, books, situations and random people who helped me with these realisations!
Ciao for now
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