The Heart Of Altruistic Service

This is today’s lesson from the Zen Living Year of Transformation program, which by the way is available for free download at Cheri Huber’s website. Or on the App Store as “Transform Your Life.” Every day you are offered a quote and an accompanying assignment, including a suggestion that you journal at day’s end about your experience doing the day’s assignment. Today’s quote and assignment for me is as follows:

“The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.”
Walt Whitman

Today, look to see if you would like to enhance the desire to give and what you would like to give to accomplish that.

This is my every day, my ongoing inquiry. It is what I think about, what burns in my belly: how to be of service.

This coming Saturday is the Spring Psychic Fair at the Unity Church on 29th & Bernard St. On the South Hill. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I bring my Reiki table and spend the day giving Reiki treatments to all who come.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to do it this time. My recent knee surgery and my aching back are conspiring to saddle me with a good deal of discomfort right now. But it’s what I live for. It’s what I love. So I’ll probably talk Richard into driving me and hauling my table in and out, and I may bring a stool to lean on to save my screaming joints. But I can’t sit with the thought of not going.

It’s because I have, as I have always had “the heart of altruistic service.” The need, not just the desire to be of service to others.

The Dalai Lama preaches constantly on the need for people to learn compassion. Perhaps it is because I have suffered so much in life, and still continue to suffer a good deal of physical pain, that I am in my comfort zone with compassion. But I see that there is further to go, and we all need to go there together. I hope His Holiness is right that learning compassion will awaken in people the heart of altruistic service.

I do pray for this.

The Daily Dalai

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. (Dalai Lama)

Richard doesn’t get this. I have understood this since a very early age, back when I was able to get around in a wheelchair at St. Charles Hospital. I was five with paralytic polio and after months in bed, I at last graduated to a chair. I remember how exhilarating it was to be mobile. In the evenings when the lights went out, I’d get in my chair and make my rounds. I was the only girl able to get out of bed. I adjusted pillows, combed hair for the girl in the iron lung. I carried water in little paper cups. I even washed an older girl’s hair.

I knew then. I know now. Richard doesn’t have the heart of altruistic service. In this regard he is rather like most people who have yet to learn compassion as the central duty to all other sentient beings. I am always inviting him. Perhaps someday he will come.