“At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, and no recipient . . . only the universe rearranging itself.”
How many of us burn ourselves out trying to do good in the world? We think that being of service means serving others no matter what. And we end up losing our boundaries and betraying our truth while strongly believing we need to keep giving.
It’s an exhausting conflict that has its roots in false ideas about how we define ourselves that ultimately lead to alienation and separation.
We start out with good intentions—to express love through our actions. But soon it gets messy. We feel rejected when our help isn’t received. We end up being taken advantage of. And we don’t believe we’re allowed to say no.
Our personal self is on the line because the results of what we do are attached to our happiness. We’re not giving just for the sake of giving. We’re giving so we can feel good or righteous or self-satisfied.
The problem here is the identity with the personal self, and the solution is to know that is not who we really are.
True service emerges effortlessly with complete surrender of everything personal. We take our beliefs about ourselves and the world, our stories, our expectations and needs, our attachment to any outcomes and throw all of it into the holy fire of truth. Because these are ideas created in our minds and none of them can begin to define the truth of who we are.
True service is revealed as simply listening. It’s about not knowing anything and being willing to be moved. It has nothing to do with thoughts or ideas. And it doesn’t come from lack, need, or the wish to feel good about ourselves. Actions happen with no regard to the outcome.
The Joy of Surrender
At the beginning of my career as a psychotherapist, I was confused about service. I felt frustrated when clients didn’t improve and considered that maybe my skills were inadequate. I’m so grateful for the help that changed my perspective entirely.
With no personal needs involved, I could show up fully in every moment. Without attachment to outcomes, the joy of doing this work blossomed. All that is being asked is complete surrender, and all that is left is emptiness and love. How that looks is none of my business.
True service is not only about how we relate to others. Every moment of surrender and listening is service. In these temporary human forms, we’re in service to the undivided, to the flow of life, to how love wants to move.
And it takes into account everyone and everything. It’s the energy you bring to driving in a traffic jam, the way you chop the celery, the kindest “no” that speaks what’s true.
Do you want to truly be of service? Then know who you’re not and discover who you are.
What About You?
Are you burned out from giving? Can you open more to love? When you’re honest with yourself, what are you serving? I’d love to hear. And if you’re reading by email, please click here to visit GailBrenner.com and to comment.
I’m so excited about a free event happening in honor of Valentine’s Day on February 14. I’ll be in conversation with Grace Bubeck from Living-From-Love, called Separation Dissolves in the Heart’s Embrace. You’ll be able to listen live and ask questions—and receive a recording if you can’t make it. Please click here for more information.
Also, I’ll be speaking at the upcoming Compassion, Mindfulness, and Wisdom Conference in San Diego. You can find information about this event here.
Always in love,