Motivations for Service

My guru told me, “Don’t you see it’s all perfect?” See God’s law manifesting. See the perfection of a being; just perfect, just the way it is. With all its neurosis and all its stuff, it’s just perfect. It’s just law unfolding. It’s the Divine Law made manifest. Forms are all within law. They are not legal law, they’re not rational law. They are natural law, they are God’s law.

So you look and see the perfection, and at the same moment, you don’t close your eyes to the physical plane at which the person is suffering. On the physical plane, you accept your role within this plane to do what you can to relieve the suffering. You do that because if you’re suffering, I’m suffering. Because I’ve seen the plane where we’re one.

In other words, I’m trying to suggest to you that the motivations for service that hold up best are not service out of altruism, they are not service out of righteousness, they are not service out of trying to get holy, they are service because what else can you do? Because that’s just the way of life. When you start to become conscious, you don’t have any other choice. I just can’t walk away from the suffering of the universe because that’s me suffering.

It’s purely selfish. Selfish not in my separate sense, selfish in the sense of the Self, the One. We call it, “Not my, but thy will.” The reason we become instruments of “thy will” is because we tuned in and we experienced”‘thy-ness” as “my-ness.” We experienced the One-ness of that. Then we become instruments of it. It’s a very automatic process. It’s just the way it happens.

Most of us see where we’re going before we get there. Therefore, we try to do it prematurely with our intellect, our “oughts” and “shoulds.” We end up beating ourselves to shreds with guilt because we can never be good enough, there’s no way. As long as you are self-consciously watching yourself serve, the service is always going to be less than perfect. The only perfect service is selfless service, meaning service without self-consciousness. Service without a meditating thought form of, “I ought to serve.” Or, “Look, I am serving.”

“What do you do?”

“I serve.”

Let me tell you, any definition of who you are is a drag. I would let it go as fast as possible. One of the very exciting things is to find out that you don’t have to be anybody. Because nobody gets in the door of Heaven. As long as you think you’re somebody, we have great power positions for you here on Earth. You can be somebody just as long as you want to, but you can’t get through the door because narrow is the way.

As long as you’re preoccupied with your separateness, you just don’t have the key for that door. One of the prerequisites in the spiritual journey is seeing the finiteness and limits of your own game as a separate entity. Not only seeing it but wallowing in it, wallowing in the despair of knowing it’s not going to be good enough.

Only then do you start to die into your method. You see your method is no longer an attachment because there’s no “you” to have an attachment to. You and your method become the same thing. Then somebody else looking at you says, “Oh, she serves.”

But you don’t know you serve. You just do what you do. Just like somebody says, “She goes to the toilet.” It’s no higher or lower or different, it’s just the way of things.

-Ram Dass

2 thoughts on “Motivations for Service”

  1. I have heard this and struggled with it so often. No, I can’t see it’s perfect. I intellectually accept it because I respect the source but… I hope one day… I get the being nobody in service. I totally understand and am able to feel the oneness with all life, seeing the soul just like mine in the eye of a bird (I still swat mossies though!) but perfection??? I need more steps.


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