I want to be as comfortable as possible. Give me air-conditioning and memory-foam mattress toppers and fast internet. I want my surroundings to be as cushy as I can make them. After I’ve worked so hard to make my life comfortable, at the very end of the day, if I have any energy left over, then I might think about other people. This is not good.
There’s nothing wrong with taking care of myself, with putting myself first, because if I don’t no one else will, but striving for a cushy life means I don’t tolerate discomfort at my expense. And it takes more and more for me to feel comfortable. Like the princess and the pea who slept on a hundred mattresses and could feel the pea stuck between the bottom two. This focus on me has made me a little self-centered. My mindset of late has been, “What can you do for me? What can I get from you?”
Friends, this is no way to live and does not lead to any sort of fulfillment. My spiritual teacher says the formula for bliss is service minus information. I have been decidedly low on service and high on information, so of course I’m not feeling bliss. Some people have a disdain for information, calling it useless, but that’s not true. Information is only useless if it’s not applied. Information is like fruit in a bowl. The fruit is only good if I eat it. Right now, instead of using all the fruit in my bowl, it’s going to waste.
Service is the key to keeping my fruit from rotting. There’s a different mindset around true service. I serve others because it’s fun and it’s free, not because I get any benefit, although that’s a nice perk. When I serve others out of a sense of obligation or because I “should,” it’s no longer service and instead a recipe for resentment. Service starts with a shift in mentality from “me, me, me,” to “we, we, we.” And when I shift my perspective, opportunities to serve present themselves, from giving someone a ride to the airport, to holding the door open for someone, to starting an orphanage.
Service often gets relegated to that one weekend of the month volunteering for so-and-so, but I’m finding it’s important to make service a part of my daily life. I’m such an extreme person that I think service has to be a grand affair. It doesn’t. Service starts in the mind, and that means thinking of others. My challenge right now is to serve myself and to serve others. I have a tendency to be “all or nothing,” so I need to not overextend myself too much. A little bit of stress leads to growth; a lot of stress leads to illness and injury. A cushy life is great and all, but what is it costing me? Maybe my life needs to be a little less cushy and a lot more service-oriented. After all, bliss feels a lot better than comfort.
I dream of a world where we serve each other. A world where life is a little less “me, me, me” and more “we, we, we.” A world where instead of striving for a cushy life, we strive for a blissful one.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.