Authentic Service

As I learn more about my fire and my will, and explore what it means to be fully myself, I’m finding an interesting balance between self and service to the community. In the past, I tended to err on the side of being a bit too focused on other people’s needs and desires, to the detriment (sometimes) of my own. That type of selflessness can backfire, because if you don’t take care of yourself, you can burn out and then not have any more energy to give, whether you like it or not (been there, done that).

On my new path, there are times when it feels like I’ve gone to the other extreme, being selfish to the exclusion of the needs of my family or friends. This has been pointed out to me a couple of times recently. And of course, that taps into my old pattern and I feel horrible about it, and start to question my new way of being in the world.

But, as my dear friend B. says, there is a middle path, that of ““self interest.” As I’m learning, this is a way of being that takes into account one’s own needs and desires, and pursues them in a way that is in sync with the needs and desires of loved ones and the greater community. It allows for service to community, but in a way that “feeds” one’s energy rather than drains it.

I can take the energy I get from doing what empowers me personally, and feed it back into helping others with their work. That way, everyone benefits. And I’m being more authentic in the world, by acknowledging and acting upon my own desires, exercising my will in a positive and sustainable way.

It’s still a work in progress, this new way of approaching my life. Feedback and suggestions are certainly welcome!


Authentic Service — 2 Comments

  1. I have two things about the “enlightened self-interest” argument that bug me.

    First, is what is this thing called self? I have an idea of what the self is, but where does it begin and end? The broader the self is conceived, the more in agreement with this argument I am.

    Second, and related, it conflicts with the Buddhist notion that I have reluctantly come to accept, of oneness with all things. If you motivate yourself by anything other than attention to this oneness, then you are asking for trouble, most likely trouble that will manifest emotionally (at least in part). At least that’s always been my experience….

    That said, I think enlightened self-interest is a pretty good map, pragmatically speaking. One can get far with it (pun intended).

    Love, Light, and Bigger, Wilder, Wetter, More Interesting Problems, J

  2. Very interesting stuff indeed. I have found that the only consciousness I am aware of is my own. I mean, really. I do not know what it is like to be anyone else. I can imagine what it might be like, but I certainly have not ever experienced actually BEING someone else.

    That brings the Buddhist notion of “oneness with all things” to thought. Can I be “one” with all things and yet only be aware of this one consciousness? Is this one consciousness really the same as the consciousness of all things? How does that work exactly? I’m not debating or discounting that notion, just trying to figure it out by discoursing on the subject out loud.

    Star, I am currently exploring this whole notion of my own energy and what I am truly capable of. Let me know how “self interest” works for you, and in the meantime, come back to my blog to see what I am thinking about these days, which is mainly gratitude.

    Blessed Be. Crystal

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