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Serving Every Moment in Busy Life

In context of today’s topic, many great souls like Gandhiji, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King come into my memory. They are revered in our hearts because their life mottos were only to benefit others. I fly in high spirits and feel enthusiastic just by reading articles or biographies of these noble souls. A desire would arise in me that I should also spend some time of my life in serving others. I never made the full effort to act on that wish, because I blamed it on the lack of time due to many responsibilities. A big part of the problem was that my desire was not very deep; in fact, it was a frivolous one that quickly died over time. The charitable beings had set a determined goal in their mind, and they worked towards that purpose full heartedly. For example, Gandhiji’s desire was to free India and create a Ramrajya (heaven) there. I did not have any such big goals in mind, but did have this desire to help others. My thoughts would be limited to helping the poor, handicapped, or oppressed people. An extremely good fortune knocked on my door when I got the knowledge that showed me a way to serve others every moment without giving up any of my current responsibilities. This noble way is slowly removing all types of boundaries and excuses I had created towards serving others. If the goal was to serve every moment, then how can any moment or anybody be excluded from serving? 

What are different types of serving?

Serving itself means selflessly giving and helping others. We could help though many means like money, labor, or education. We could provide food, give clothing, and arrange shelter for the needy. Most of our charity is limited to address the physical needs. The body gets hungry, it needs cloth, and shelter. We need money to facilitate these physical needs, and for that, education is needed. This type of physical charity would automatically exclude people who are well off or are living a decent life. Hence, this kind of donation cannot be done towards all or every moment. Then how do you serve the one that has every physical comfort? We need to have a much broader vision and mindset to serve others. Every soul is thirsty for peace, love, and happiness. Spiritual serving means cooperating with every being in a way that quenches their spiritual thirst. The aim of spiritual serving is to make every being feel our sincere respect and care for them. Serving can be done every moment when every thought is about benefiting others, every word is to uplift people, and every action is meant to encourage them. Even nature gets served by the mere presence of such a pure being.

Why is spiritual serving more important than physical serving?

Indeed, we need to serve in whatever way we can. Many times, the call of the hour is just to provide food or medicine. Although in the long run, spiritual serving makes the being so empowered and confident that they can facilitate physical needs on their own. The sufferings that we encounter in the form of health, wealth, or relations are all due to our actions (karma). The physical serving addresses the short term need, but does not really help in changing the destiny of the soul because their karma continues to be like before. We might donate some money to the poor, and they might get food with it for few months. We might provide education to a kid, but what if that kid grows up to be a corrupt individual? We might give beggars few dollars to buy some food, but what if they buy alcohol with it and beat up their families? Spiritual serving focuses on uplifting the soul in such a way that the soul feels empowered to perform the right karma that automatically ensures a bright future. 

What are the merits of serving?

Serving others is one of the easiest ways to charge or increase the power within ourselves. The power that allows us to maintain patience, tolerate people’s remarks, or keep ourselves stable in tough situations. A soul that has served will feel immediate happiness, the one that cannot be felt by any other means.
In everyone’s life, it is inevitable that tough and extremely painful situations will arrive. The treasures of blessings we accumulated by selflessly serving in the past come as a saviour in dire times. The stock of blessings will either finish off the challenging situations quickly or make them feel very light.

An altruistic being’s every desire and need gets fulfilled by the universe as they are busy fulfilling people’s desire. I have received this kind of help many times, and these experiences have restored my trust in goodness completely. When I was tired, someone would walk in miraculously to help. When I was eating something that I did not like, someone would offer me food of my liking. We stress out and worry a lot to protect ourselves, family, and possessions. Even after that, we fail many times. A simpler way exists; when we take care of others’ happiness, then the universe takes care of us. We serve others and let the universe serve us.

Another big benefit of serving others is that the body heals much faster as the soul is healing others. In the past, many times I would refuse taking up tasks or doing things for others when my body was down. My body never became stronger by resting or sleeping for hours. In fact, day by day it was becoming weaker even though we are taking all the care. I try my best to not say ‘No’ to any help that is requested of me even when my body is feeling exhausted. My experience has been that the body healed faster by helping others than resting it.

What kind of attitude is needed when serving others?

If charity is done in the form of a business deal, then it is hard for the person being served to feel thankful. Imagine being told constantly by a parent that we have done so much for you, have some mercy on us, and follow our directions. A child might oblige, but the gratitude felt for the parents diminishes in the child’s heart. A child would want to feel that everything that was done by their parents was out of love, not because in return they expected something in future. A child should make a genuine effort to respect their parents’ desires, but does that mean a parent should remind the child about it or worse demand it?

Nowadays, many people do charity for getting a respected title and fame. Even in temples, names of people who have donated a lot of money are put on walls in gold plates. An act of charity has a lot of power when it is done in an incognito mode. A benevolent act becomes selfish when it is publicly announced to gain attention.The act loses its value to a great extent as it was done for selfish reasons. 

Who can serve others every moment?

Could an extremely poor person donate money to others? Could a person who is starving for days donate food to people? Similarly, the one who needs to be served cannot serve others every moment. The one who has needs cannot fulfill other people’s need. In this world, there are many who have everything materialistically and relationship wise. Even these people are not able to serve every moment because their need for more is still there. The materialistic comfort has not satisfied them, but instead it has created the greed for more and fear of loss.

Only a happy and content person can truly serve others every moment. Who can remain contented even when life fluctuates between favorable and unfavorable situations? It would be the one that can tolerate discomfort and maintain their patience that everything will be alright in time. Who can tolerate discomfort? The one who is able to easily renounce comfort, and lead a simple life. Only a wise being can renounce anything easily because they have understood that renunciation creates fortune. The founder of Brahma Kumaris, Dada Lekhraj, was a multi millionaire and had a very loving family. When he got a divine call to create a pure world, he renounced everything very easily. He entrusted his entire wealth to few members of the Brahma Kumaris and lived a very ordinary life. To date, the organization is growing and transforming many people's’ lives.

What kind thinking stops us from serving every moment?

We stop serving because of not realizing the importance of serving and the loss it creates for us. Our ignorance makes us create thoughts like:

  • Why should I help when they have never helped?
  • I need to keep time for myself and enjoy the pleasures of life.
  • In this world everyone has to think about themselves else others will eat them alive.

We foolishly start serving ourselves by keeping ourselves busy in different types of indulgences and pleasures. The more we keep fulfilling our desires, the more they grow and the more dependent we become on them. Are we incurring more profit or loss for ourselves?

What kind of thinking helps in serving every moment?

Few thoughts below help in maintaining good wishes for all, and the pure feelings these thoughts generate automatically serve others.

  • “I will always maintain hope for everyone including myself”.
    • We tend to give up easily when others have even slightest defect. Dismissing others is easy and anybody can do it, even a small child can do that. Great people take challenges and help others by inspiring them to change.
  • “Right is right and wrong is wrong, but I will maintain pure feelings for all.”
    • We are nice to people who are like us, or who agree with us. When these people stop agreeing with us, our feelings towards them change.
      We cannot tolerate anyone’s bad behavior because we think we have the right to dislike something that is bad. Our feelings toward them become negative.

In both the situations above, our feelings changed because we were busy deciding who was on our side (right) and who was not (wrong). Taking sides even if it is the right side, makes us biased. The one who is biased, will only serve the ones they like and will exclude everyone else. That exclusion can become irritation or hatred towards few. Are we serving at that moment?

To end this off, I want to share a story of a bird that maintained courage and the spirit of serving. A big fire in a jungle was slowly burning everything. The tiny bird filled water in its beak to put off the fire. The elephants from the same jungle told the foolish bird that it would not be able to extinguish the fire and might instead get burnt alive. The wise bird already knew its capacity, but it wanted to be remembered as the one that did everything to save the jungle. The elephants felt ashamed and helped out in saving the jungle from getting ruined. One tiny bird became the instrument in saving the entire jungle. Can’t few charitable souls transform the entire world? It is our choice as to what kind of footprint we want to leave in this world, someone that served every being or the one that was busy serving themselves.

© 2017, Meghana Bahen (Milpitas)

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