To Serve Others, Serve Your Soul

October 25, 2016


I meet so many people who feel that to be spiritual means to serve and help others. In a sense, this is true: we are all meant to be of service to others. But for many people, they can only see themselves helping others as a form of approval-seeking or to avoid taking care of themselves. They are stuck in a pattern of self-denial and self-abnegation. They never take care of their own needs, whether emotional or physical. And then they get burned out, annoyed or exasperated because no one acknowledges how much they do for others. This is the wrong kind of service.


What people on a spiritual path who want to serve others don't often understand is that the best way to serve the rest of the world is to serve your soul.  What lights you up? What makes you feel passionate about life? What gets your juices going so much that you can't help but spread joy and delight?  When you are in alignment with your soul, whatever you do will generate a contagious energy of excitement and aliveness. The vibrant energy is infectious, and people will naturally gravitate to you. 


Too often, people approach the issue of service in very rigid ways.  You might feel like you need to somehow be fixing other people's lives, healing them, tackling injustice, etc. Those are all highly laudable approaches, but too often they dominate. I see many people who aspire to be healers who haven't healed themselves enough to know that their true gifts lie elsewhere. For a lot of people, they are busy trying to fix others because deep down they are trying fix themselves.


Once you've figured out where your real bliss lies, you might discover that your true calling may be aesthetic work, like music, art, dance, fashion, etc. For others, it may be entertainment that moves and inspires, like theatre or film. For others, it may be working in politics or law or healthcare.  When you serve your soul, you end up naturally serving others through your aliveness and vibrancy; you naturally heal others by bringing that energy into the world.  So, instead of asking, how can I help others?, ask instead, what does my soul want most, and then do that.

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