Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Serve in order to Receive

Last year I read Wayne Dyer's book, ChangeYour Thoughts, Change Your Life, which is Wayne's take on the Tao Te-Ching.  He takes this ancient text and makes it relatable in today's world.  GREAT book!  It changed how I look at myself, life, and interactions with everyone and everything around me.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. 

While reading, I took notes and made comments in my journal that I felt particularly resonated with me.  Lately I've been feeling a little "off" and am not sure why.  Everything seems like it's just the way I want it, so why do I have this little feeling of discontent within me?  I decided to read over my journal writings from Wayne Dyer's book and re-learn what was so uplifting and life-changing at the time.

"By giving without asking, he attracts everything that he's capable of handling or needing."

Do you ever, or often, feel like you have too much on your plate?  You agreed to do this and that, to help this person and that cause.  But now that it's all here, you're feeling overwhelmed.  Why did I sign up to do all this?  It's too much! 

But according to Dyer and the Tao, when we give without asking, we will only attract what we are capable of handling.  No need to worry! 

And by "giving without asking," I believe it's referring to asking what we'll get out of it.  That's an ego question, most definitely not a spirit question.   

We should strive to put others first and ask nothing in return, according to Dyer.... and according to the Tao.  This is tough for me!  I feel I do a lot of service, but from time to time it "gets to me" and I feel put out, burdened, annoyed, etc.  

One of the things I've been doing for the past five or so years is helping care for my grandma in her home.  She's 97 and still living in her home.  Alone.  My grandpa died some 20 years ago.  She had a stroke about 5 years ago and needed in-home care.  Since then she's recovered very well and is mostly independent again.  But she still likes, and needs somewhat, people to do things for her.  So between my cousins, parents, aunts, uncles, sisters, and me, someone goes to her house 3 times a day and gives her her meals, along with doing whatever household tasks need doing.  Mostly it's to check up on her, and for her to know someone is coming, giving her peace of mind. 

Guiltily I feel annoyed too often when I "have" to go to her house for "my shifts."  I feel very badly about this.  She took care of me when I was little and my parents worked.  She and I have always had a close relationship.  But now I feel like I have this child, of sorts, to care for... and I don't have any children!  I feel like I didn't choose this.   

One thing that works, sometimes, when I'm at her house and feeling particularly annoyed and not wanting to be there is to say my favorite prayer, "Thank you."  I will repeat "Thank you for this opportunity to serve" over and over as I'm making her bed, cleaning the bathroom, getting her breakfast, etc.  That does quiet my ego and put me back in a giving, loving frame of mind.  Sometimes it lasts longer than other times.   

Any time we feel resistent, it's usually our ego acting up.  Our ego wants attention.  Or ego demands accolades and praise.  Our ego is selfish and only thinks about itself. 

The first step is being aware of our ego.  Then we can step aside and not step into our ego-based thoughts.  They are just thoughts, after all.  It's not our loving spirit speaking.  Just our ego-driven mind. 

By reversing the ego's hold on us, and serving others, "all your own needs will be fulfilled."  (Dyer)

That's good stuff to know! 

I'm glad I reread that journal note from that chapter of Dyer's book today.  My ego has been especially loud and demanding lately. 

First step: Recognize the ego.  (check)
Second step:  Step aside and let the ego go.  (ok...I'll make more of an effort to do this, instead of letting those ego notions take over my brain and my emotions.)
Third step:  Step into your loving kindness spirit and BE love.  (ahhh...yes.  Now doesn't that feel good?) 

And remember, it's through serving others that we receive all we need. 

*Note: That's not to say we should ignore our own needs... as long as it's our spirit we're listening to, and not our ego. 

How do you know the difference?  The ego will be demanding, mean, arrogant, self-righteous. 
The spirit will be loving, gentle, and usually quiet. 

The ego is very easy to hear.  It's loud. 
The spirit on the other hand, for most of us, will be the quieter voice.  The voice many of us don't hear at all.  We have to learn to hear the spirit.  Learn to tune into it's frequency.  Because it's always there.  Underneath the ego.  Underneath it all.  Always there guiding us, gently. 

Get quiet. 
Let the loud ego thoughts push on through your mind. 
Then tune into the spirit. 

Serve that voice. 

Quotes of the Day:

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  (Mahatma Gandhi)

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  (Martin Luther King, Jr.) 

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
  (Mother Teresa) 

“The Simple Path
Silence is Prayer
Prayer is Faith
Faith is Love
Love is Service
The Fruit of Service is Peace”
    (Mother Teresa)

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But...the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”  (Martin Luther King, Jr.) 


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