There are times when I come away from meeting with a patient or with a co-worker, feeling unsure of how useful my visit has been to them. Of course, being fully present is invaluable and I remind myself of that. But part of me wishes for something more solid to take away, some kind of evidence to show that I’ve been of use to the other. Is that asking for too much? Am I being greedy?
So, fundamentally, helping, fixing and serving are ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak; when you fix, you see life as broken; and when you serve, you see life as whole.
When we serve in this way, we understand that this person’s suffering is also my suffering, that their joy is also my joy and then the impulse to serve arises naturally — our natural wisdom and compassion presents itself quite simply. A server knows that they’re being used and has the willingness to be used in the service of something greater. We may help or fix many things in our lives, but when we serve, we are always in the service of wholeness. (more …)
To serve, then, requires a deep trust or faith in the efficacy of my action. Hoping for tangible evidence or rewards may be human nature but, in Buddhist terms, is mere grasping at something that cannot be grasped. Attachment, according to the Buddha’s Second Noble Truth, causes suffering. Awareness leads to opening the grasping hand and letting things be as they are. And today such “things” happen to include uncertainty, wishful thinking, and grasping.