← Back Published on

Selfless Service

Why do we do the things we do? It usually boils down to the simplicity of being seen, acknowledged, and validated. Essentially, much of our motivation is to belong and the aforementioned qualities are signals that we do, so we seek them. There’s a quality of our motivation that goes beyond being seen, though.

We notice this in examples of people throughout history who chose to go in their own direction regardless of whether they would be accepted for it or not. Through these people, we have seen great acts of courage that brought about lasting transformation in culture.

The likes of Galileo, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and Susan B. Anthony went against the grain in pursuit of their life’s work, which ended up being something much bigger than themselves. These people broke the mould, changing what was falsely believed as ¨how the world works¨ and therefore transformed whole societal structures and belief systems.

Hence, there is a motivation that runs deeper than being seen. To go against what is broadly thought as true has no incentive other than honoring a quality inside that is emergent. It cannot be praised because the revelation is hidden within the person bringing it forward. Only after the fact it might be celebrated as an act of genius. When its effect can be acknowledged.

So I ask you, then- when the well of acknowledgment runs dry would we still do what we do? When all the applause, thanks, encouragement, and prestige die out, then what? Does our endeavor still matter?

I believe there is something specific each of us carries and we’re here to give it to the world. This, although requiring a deep connection, we would do regardless if the world sees us for it. It is our specific cross to bear.

Going beyond the desire to find belonging through what we bring forth implies that we are willing to do it on our own. Not to say that we won’t or shouldn’t receive support along the way. The help that is necessary will come. However, we would do it no matter the circumstance. A willingness emerges because it is something we know we must do. A newfound commitment materializes- as I talked about in the prior essay- and life gives us the energy to complete our work.

The desire to be appreciated for our work is something that we can accept as a natural part of the human condition. What we can learn, though, is to discern where this influences our work to be manufactured rather than authentic. Where it keeps us on the surface. This mechanism can become a tool for us to dig deeper into our creativity.

Then, we can create something that fulfills us, not because of how the world sees it, but because we established enough intimacy with ourselves to bring something so close to our essence, so vulnerable, into the public eye. We will be happy for no other reason than knowing deep within, that this was true.

And that’s just it, we bring forth that which is emergent for us because it helps us get to know the world more. It takes us deeper into the subtleties of life and allows us to unify with our object of concentration. Life begins to reveal itself to us through the act of doing our vocation deliberately. The accolades, praise, gratitude, and other forms of acknowledgement that we may receive will not come close to touching the bliss of the relationship we establish with life through our work.

Each one of us has a responsibility to ¨The Gift.¨ To not be righteous in it, but to uphold it humbly and refine it over a lifetime of practice. It’s a relationship, a conversation maybe, between you and life itself, arising as your most precious and natural resource.

Own it. Nurture it. Hone your skills with it. Do it even if no one is watching- especially, if no one cares. And give it away.

This is the highest service.

¨Find purpose. The means will follow.¨ - Mahatma Gandhi