The shift from saving the world to serving it, is a shift from head to heart, of ego to soul. Serving the world, I’m discovering, has nothing to do with who I think I am or should be, but instead about what the world needs and what is being asked of me. Serving the world seems to be about surrendering to the flow of life, to whatever direction life is calling you, and likely scaring the shit out of you a little. Being of service is about opening and allowing yourself to be guided and led, not willing, pushing or attaching to a preferred outcome. Being of service is never about being right, self-sacrificing or being a martyr, but rather about letting go of the life you had planned. Everyone I know has been called from one way of being into another. The process varies from gentle and obvious to potentially violent and WTF?!
The Humbling of Ego
The shift from head to heart and ego to soul-centered living is one of being slowed down and emptied out. As a part of my Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology I was required to do 68 hours of volunteer service. I could feel my old wannabe superhero programming jumping into action, “What kind of service will be the best, the most badass, and have the most impact?” I waited for a sign from the universe or a flutter of inspiration in my heart. Nope. “Your service project isn’t about you,” I heard from somewhere inside. I took the next opportunity that presented itself and found myself with the grueling task of playing with four-year-old kids at a daycare for underprivileged kids. “What?!” screamed my ego. "I am a big deal, I can handle super intense shit, put me to work, make me useful!" It was torture at first for my mind to be "useless", present, bored and patient. Wipe a nose, read Clifford in a silly voice and show up with love, is all these kids required. Anyone could do it.
A Growing Sense of Delight
After building a few sand castles and pushing kids around on teeny tricycles, the aching need to be a big deal slowly started to subside. I have a much deeper respect for the profoundly difficult task these teachers (and mothers/fathers) have to be present for a child. To be truly present is what everyone is longing for. If only we could see its value. The more I surrendered to those tiny gurus, the more I experienced a growing sense of delight and an abundance of time. I believe the choice to be so busy is our desperate attempt to feel valuable and important. It is a difficult habit to break, but it is possible.
To shift from the ego of saving the world to the soul of service, is a choice to shift the power dynamic within. It a choice between pretending to be God (to know what the world needs) and admitting we know nothing. Once the ego stops fighting for its' value, service becomes way more fun.