A Serving Heart

Every instance of good service ever given came about because of the serving heart of someone who was genuinely interested in promoting the well-being of one of his or her fellows.

The serving heart is not concerned with self-service or self-aggrandizement. Moreover, the serving heart realizes that fulfillment comes only as others are assisted in the discovery and realization of their fulfillment.

Isn’t this how true love works? If you are deeply in love with another person, you are more concerned with their fulfillment than you are with your own. You think about their needs constantly and seek to provide for them in any way possible. You don’t do it because you are told to do it or because you feel you will get something from it if you do; rather, you do it because you are compelled from deep within to give of yourself without any concern for pay or reward.

The serving heart is available to each and every person on earth. You need not be in love to be of service, but you must be willing to submit yourself to love’s command, that is, to the will of love.

What qualities are often attributed to love? Radiance, warmth, generosity, forgiveness, compassion are but a few, and the will of love is the golden thread which weaves through all of these qualities of character and expression. It is easy to see, then, why letting love command your expression leads to a life of fulfilling and meaningful service.

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

Ready

“All things are ready, if our mind be so.” -William Shakespeare, Henry V

A few brief thoughts for you this morning on how to mentally prepare for what is to come, whatever that may be:

  1. Regarding the unresolved or worrisome elements that hide like muggers in the shadows of your mind, say to yourself (and to them directly) with the full force of your mind and heart: “you matter not to me.” Attention gives weight and assigns importance.
  2. Regarding your present circumstances, acknowledge and give specific thanks for the starting points at hand. Again, attention gives weight and assigns importance.
  3. Regarding #1 and #2, your mind will either be a pristine showroom or a junkyard based on how you deal with the present and the past. Give weight and assign importance to what truly matters and not to what is no longer relevant or beyond your control.
  4. Regarding those around you, remember that you would worry far less about what they think if you realized how infrequently they think of you.
  5. Regarding the unknown, dare to risk curiosity and more importantly, dare to act. Action catalyzes courage and courage is the basis of all forward movement.

Get yourself ready, my friends. Opportunity knocks!

The Spiral of Life

The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes
This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main,—
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,—
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

The earth is not flat; it is round. You do not fall off into an abyss of nothingness when you pass the horizon. Likewise, life does not end when you leave your body, your chambered cell. You continue onward to lands yet unknown.

If you are waiting for death to be free, you’ve missed the central purpose of your incarnation entirely. Live now, dear reader, live now.

Spirit

“Remember, that of all the elements that comprise a human being, the most important, the most essential, the one that will sustain, transcend, overcome and vanquish obstacles is – Spirit!” – Buddy Ebsen

You needn’t look far in the pages of history or the chapters of your life to see that spirit is essential to both being and achieving. The spirit or life force in you is what animates you, for without it you would be a disorganized lump of inorganic and organic matter. But it doesn’t stop there. That same life force is also what allows you to overcome that which blocks the road to achievement and fulfillment in your life.

Spirit is your most precious resource.

Self-Discipline

“The man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time.” – Chinese proverb

Knowing what you want to do and actually getting it done are two different things.

Think about it this way: there is a no-man’s land between every goal that is set and every goal that is accomplished. That no-man’s land begins as unclaimed and uncharted territory, but with the application of focused and sufficiently persistent work, it gradually becomes familiar as it is traversed.

The process of achieving any goal involves the transformation of the unknown into the known. Self-discipline allows this to be done. The ability to do the right thing when it needs to be done without external control or coercion is the measure of self-discipline. And self-discipline is an essential element of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual maturity.

Self-discipline at one level (e.g. physical or mental) provides foundational support for the development of self-discipline in the other levels. As such, the successful handling of the small, seemingly insignificant details of life contributes significantly to the pattern of victory in the larger goals and aspirations.

School of Life

If you’ve ever seen a time lapse video of plant growth you likely marveled at the beauty and wisdom of life. The flow of life vivifies what would otherwise be an uncoordinated conglomeration of matter and energy.

Life surges through the members of the animal and vegetable kingdoms it animates, including mankind, though man, with his capacity for free will, can modulate the expression of the life which pours through his form more than any other animal. Every man, woman, and child allows, through his or her pattern of choice, for the outpouring of life within. Some choices amplify the flow, while others attenuate it.

The creative process is by nature incredibly forgiving. The physical world is constantly in flux. Life, which is by nature eternal, is constantly inspiriting new forms in new ways. Old forms give way to new ones, but life itself never dies. The death of a loved one is not the death of life, but the sundering of life and the form it quickens. There is loss, but it is not total.

Every new thing you undertake moves through a life cycle. Impregnation, gestation, birth, and maturation work out through every aspect of your life. This order is the law of life. It manifests in a pattern and the pattern is immutable. That, however, doesn’t stop people from trying to work around it. They lean into it with the force of their will, pitting cleverness against wisdom in an effort to speed things up or to bypass the laws of nature. While such attempts may appear to work in the short term, they are eventually swept away by the pliant, yet unchangeable laws of life.

At any given point in time you will find yourself in the midst of any number of cycles which are at various stages of unfoldment. Time management, project management, life and leadership skills, and so many other clever classifications are simply fancy ways to describe the process by which these cycles of life are managed. Some advocate the use of force more than others, all demand a certain level of understanding of the principles of organization, but ultimately we are all students in the great school of life.

Your dominion over the world you center is as dependent upon the timing of your action as it is the quality of your action. Pushing and demanding results, insisting that the form be a certain way prematurely will distort the outcome and possibly abort the unfolding cycle. Likewise, waiting too long to act, procrastinating beyond the point of no return, or constantly wishing things were different than they are now will likely result in a string of missed opportunities.

Life is wise. Life is beautiful. Coordinate with it and you will flourish and blossom. Struggle against it and you will wither and eventually find yourself unable to accommodate its vibrancy. In this sense the old adage is correct: if you stop and get a whiff of the flowers, you might just begin living more generously, more radiantly. And like the time lapse films, it may work in and through you faster than you might have thought possible.