In my experience, there are some moments in one’s practice that stand out as particularly fun and enlightening. Like the first time we get it that ego never, ever has anything useful to say. Or the first time we have the experience of real, unconditional acceptance. (Mine was having a fly land on my face repeatedly during meditation one afternoon, not moving a muscle to shoo it away despite intense urges to do so, and then realizing I could accept the situation as is and be in perfect peace.) But one of my favorite such “aha” moments was when I experienced for myself what the Guide describes as the place of “best for all.”
I set as one of my 2019 goals to perform at least one act of pure service each day. By that, I meant that I would go out of my way to care for or clean something, do a kind act for someone, etc., every day. However, given our continual encouragement from Practice to look at process over content, I soon realized that it wasn’t the what that would comprise the act of service, but the how. For example, I saw that I could give our dog Pace a nice belly-rub (one of his favorite things in the whole world as far as I can tell), but if I was not really there – if I was off in a conversation with conditioned mind – then I would not have done anything that a robot couldn’t do, and therefore it would not count as an act of pure service. Conversely, if I were fully present, then the belly-rub act would carry within it the love that, to me, constitutes true human service. In fact, I could wash my dishes, write an email, chop an onion, or simply walk into a room, and the determining factor for its qualifying as service would be not the act itself, but Presence. In that way, I realized being present – in thisherenow – is the purest act of service a human can “perform.” In truth, when we are present, it’s impossible not to be of service.
As I went about my days of tasks and chores, I would practice consciously dropping whatever was going on in conditioned mind, making the shift to being here, and delighting in the vast difference between “getting stuff done” and “being of service.” Then I started eating meals as an act of service. Brushing my teeth as an act of service. Drinking a cup of tea as an act of service. I was having so much fun looking for opportunities to be of service. That’s when it hit me – “in service” is the place of “best for all!”
- The community wins because I’m being guided by Life to tend to what may need tending.
- The Earth wins because I’m more sensitive to how I’m being and resources I’m using.
- Life wins because it has access to a human being.
- And I’m really the big winner because in that place of pure, present service I have the joyful, direct experience of everything being the Buddha.