What it means to be of service.

Being of service is said to be one of the best things one can do for themselves in terms of self development. I think it’s a very important part of the development of our species to be of service of others, and I think it’s often forgotten.

The most important thing we can do is to try to figure out who we want to serve, and in what way serving them can be done efficiently with the resources at hand.

Listening to a podcast some time ago, I got to know U.S Special forces sniper, Tim Kennedy. I didn’t intentionally choose the episode myself, it was on auto play. Kennedy was a guest of the Tim Ferriss podcast, and I’m astounded by how much I had to learn from that conversation. Going in to it full of prejudice, I tried not to agree with Kennedy on anything. It took energy, and after a while I got tired of it. So I surrendered to just listening openly and let him possibly have his points. And of course he had some.

In his world view, the biggest service one could do for someone else is to serve in the military for their country. He was clear on that the kind of service he was contributing to isn’t for everyone. As he was talking it became more and more clear that he really believed that what he was doing was the best possible thing he could do to serve his country, and that his country was very important to him.

As I became tired of not listening to him properly, I became more and more empathic towards his world view. I’m no-one to judge whether or not he’s a moron or not. He might be just as much of service to his community as Amma is to hers. I might argue this with a standpoint in my values, but they’re highly personal. Being of service is as well.

So whether or not one is hugging as many people as one can, or shooting the people one believe to be the bad guise and a threat to their existence, they’re probably serving the people they want to serve in the way thet they find most productive. It’s really important we keep this in mind, as we often rule out the people who are within opposite world views from ourselves. It’s a lot easier to diminish someone than it is to try to be empathic. I know that just as well as you do.

The most important thing we can do is to try to figure out who we want to serve, and in what way serving them can be done efficiently with the resources at hand.

When that’s done, I believe there’s only one thing one can do. Go serve. It’s probably the most fulfilling task you’re ever going to take on, ever. What the rest of have to do is to keep up the conversation about how we want to serve and be served. Because as soon as we don’t someone is going to make a mistake. As Kennedy serving all Americans by shooting people, which is probably not how many Americans want to be served. And just as many activists are serving their community, fighting for rights and ground.

What’s important to remember is that Mandela believed he served his community in just the same way that Kennedy believes he’s serving his. Trump is serving his community just as the militant left is serving theirs. And so on. We’re all serving our communities.

So, when we think someone is serving the wrong community, or serving in a way that’s inefficient or even wrong in our eyes, we need to be able to talk about that. Either by talking about the community itself or by talking about the act of serving. Both loudly and calmly.

If you start seeing every action, standpoint and opinion as a believed service for a believed community, it’s a lot easier to empathise with the person committing the action. And only then can you change their minds.