I have been wrestling with some issues regarding service and what it means. I have questioned myself, my motives, and the results and wondered if I was “doing” it “right”. I posed some of these questions to Scaughdt, the answers to which absolutely blew my mind. If received such a powerful dose of inspiration from them, I’m sure they will be of benefit to you as well.

You always seem so positive. But, I’ve been having to wrestle with some ideas. _______ is the person I’m really aiming my energies at. ________ is the person that the world would say doesn’t deserve my compassion or love because they haven’t given back equally to me, yet I’m trying to serve. But, what if  ________ is taking advantage? Does serving hurt?

I saw some guys fighting on the street the other night, I went to break it up, and found it was a plain clothes cop arresting someone. I went back to the platform to board my train. The conductor rolled his eyes at me and closed the door and drove on. I’ve had quite a few experiences lately where serving others, causes me pain. I’ve also had many experiences where it doesn’t. And, I’ve had some that produce joy in me and some joy in others.

I mean when you serve by digging out stumps, or building a house, you might get splinters or blisters. This is pain. In breaking up a fight you might get stabbed. Again pain. Likewise, getting bit by a centipede or a spider, while sleeping outside on your walk, is pain. But these are pains to the body. Is there joy in serving? Does it sometimes feel good and others bad? Or is it that I don’t have the right mind frame? Is my expectation wrong in the first place? Should I expect pain from here on out? Should serving make me exhausted and physically wrecked?

Is it wrong for me to expect _______ to realize that I’m going out of my way to serve _______? That I’m going way above the call of my position to help _______?
Anyway, thanks for letting me dump all these questions and angst upon you.

Your friend,

Again, his response floored me with its eloquence, simplicity, and acute intellect.

To give you the gist of my response:  Any personal discomfort that comes from serving others does not come from the serving, but rather from your own expectations as to what that service “should have accomplished” … And, to be even more bold, any discomfort that comes to others as a result of your acts of kindness is ultimately irrelevant.  [Yikes — that sounds so cold!  Trust me, its’ not … more on that later]

Let’s get to those questions.

1) As selfless service is by nature SELFLESS, there can be no discomfort that comes from IT.  Now, our ego will often become frightened by those selfless acts, and it will want us to cease them entirely.  So what does it do?  It attaches hopes & expectations to the outcomes of those Good Deeds — hopes & expectations that are entirely dependent upon the recipient of our Good Will responding in an Enlightened manner.  THIS IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY TO HAPPEN, which the ego knows all too well.  It wants you to become discouraged by your selfless acts apparent “ineffectiveness”.  Of course, in reality, EVERY SELFLESS DEED IS SUCCESS-FULL THE MOMENT IT IS GIVEN — regardless of how it is received (and even if it is rejected outright).  And, even better, every act of selfless Love IS RECEIVED every time — even when the recipient seems to respond otherwise. Irrational Love always finds a way into the Soul of its recipient — always.

2) If others receive our selfless deeds and choose to reject them, that is their business.  It doesn’t mean that we have failed at all, but rather that they have failed to take the courageous leap necessary to receive real Love.  At these times, we can extend them an extra dose of Compassion for their fear-full choice and then just keep on Loving them.  Of course, sometimes the recipient chooses to not only reject our Love, but also chooses to be harmed emotionally by it — what I think is a form of crystallized guilt or shame.  Even though this is their choice and 100% their responsibility, and even though it is always wise to “err on the side of giving too much”, at some point it does indeed become an act of Kindness to Purpose-fully NOT extend an act of Kindness.  Again, your ego will want you to pull the plug far too early in such cases.  Almost every dysfunctional person will respond to your selfless Kindness with some experience of internal strife or pain.  Persist in Loving them anyway, as most of the time they will either “come around” or run away from you.  Only in the very rare case of the true emotional masochist will you ever need to withdraw your “pearls” from those “swine” (while continuing to beam them Love, of course).

Some other responses to your other queries …

A)  If you are giving purely, it is impossible to be “taken advantage of” … In fact, that is exactly what the pure Giver wants the other to do!

B)  If others are rolling their eyes at your actions, this is a VERY GOOD SIGN!  More & more folks are “waking up”, and yet by far the majority are still “sleeping with the enemy” (societal conventions & ego-based fears).  So it is perfectly normal for them to express ridicule or even disgust in the face of your selflessness …

C) Whether a service produces physical pain or pleasure will soon become irrelevant to you — and the ones that do cause physical pain will be almost painless in your selfless State of BEing.  And as I stated earlier, if you are acting purely from a selfless place, it is impossible to feel any emotional discomfort whatsoever during or after a selfless deed.  If you do, it is a sign for you to search your motives for any impure attachments or fears that have yet to be released.

D)  Fatigue is another interesting bellwether by which you can measure the relative purity of your choices.  As a general rule, if you are serving purely, then you will feel an energy boost — even when exhausted (I know this makes no sense, but it seems to be True nonetheless).  Every time I am experiencing fatigue, on the other hand, I have found that it does not indicate a time when I “need to take a break”, but rather indicates that my focus is on the one place that is sure to hold me back — myself.

E)  There is no “right” or “wrong” way to go about walking The Path, my Friend.  There are simply ways that involve personal fears & self-centered analysis (ways that bring pain or fatigue or dis-ease) — and there are ways that are done simply to Care for the other (ways that always bring Peace & Joy).  Keep examining your State of Being, andf you will continually be guided back to The Way of Caring — a Way that is completely unconcerned for personal well-being, and a way that is completely unconcerned with satisfying any external measures of “success” or “failure”.

Like I said, this conversation was percussive to my heart. It help ground me in a way that I have never been before. I have spent a life time serving myself and being concerned with only my wants and desires, my “need” for comfortable living, and my concern only with self. I’ve tried that experiment for 38 years, and while there were times of pleasure…true joy came from loving, giving, sharing, and serving. This moment right now is special, and it is the only one I have. What a gift…what will I choose to do with it?