--by Paul Gorman & Ram Dass (Feb 04, 2002)
Separateness and unity. How interesting that these root causes, revealed in the expereience of helping, turn out to be what most spiritual traditions define as the fundamental issue of life itself. Awakening from our sense of separateness is what we're called to do in all things, not merely in service. Whether these traditions speak of us as being cut off from God, Nature, Original Mind, True Being, the Tao, the Dharma -- they call on us, in one voice, to undertake the journey back to unity.
Service, from this perspective, is part of that journey. It is no longer an end in iself. It is a vehicle through which we reach a deeper understanding of life. Each step we take, each moment in which we grow toward a greater understanding of unity, steadily transforms us into instruments of that help which truly heals.
Service not only reveals a larger vision of life, but steadily moves us along and supports us in our efforts to realize this vision. Each time we seek to respond to appeals for help we are being shown where we must grow in our sense of unity and what inner resources we can call upon to do so. We are constantly given, for example, the chance to experience the inherent generosity of our heart. Each time this happens, our faith in that part of ourselves which is intimately related to the rest of the universe is strengthened. So, too, approaching each act of caring with a desire to grow, we also meet our fears and resistances -- but with the opportunity to see them for what they are, and, in doing so, to loosen the hold and ultimately to relinquish them. On the path of service, then, we are constantly given feedback which helps us along the greater journey of awakening.
-- Paul Gorman and Ram Dass