It is easy to think of service as “doing good” — addressing needs, improving lives, leaving the world a better place than we found it.
But service is about more than just outer results. It’s about inner transformation. Each time we tell our self-centeredness to roll over and put our inner generosity in the driver’s seat something inside us shifts. Service is about awareness of that shift as much as it is about action. It grows us in our understanding of ourselves and the inter-connectedness of our world. Every small act of selfless service moves us towards greater mindfulness and compassion.
“Gandhi put it this way, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
When you see someone smiling, nine times out of ten you smile too. Service works the same way. Experiment any way you like, you’ll find again and again that acts of compassion are contagious. They awaken generosity in the recipient and kindle inspiration in the hearts of each accidental witness. A stone thrown in a pond makes ripples. An act of service cast into the world does much the same. The beauty of its full reach will always stretch far beyond our line of sight.
Often, the tangible effects of our service to others are quite modest and the enormous needs of the world can seem sometimes to dwarf our best efforts. “We can do no great things,” said Mother Teresa, “only small things, with great love.”
And that’s where we believe service is perpetually born: in humble, everyday opportunities, in the “small things” that present themselves in each moment, waiting to be touched by and transformed through love.