At times service just happens in the way of things. Doesn’t it? Someone stumbles on a curb and we reach out to support them. A friend calls with a family problem and you listen. Maybe we formalize our service by volunteering through an organization, or some join the armed services. Many of us are parents and all of us are children and so we all serve and are served by our families at some level.
Service is a natural expression of our being human. And while service is natural, even instinctual it isn’t always easy.
No real service occurs unless both people are being served. Service at its best is mutually beneficial.
At a “Mountain Seat Ceremony” at the SF Zen Center years ago, a student asked the incoming Abbot (Sojun Mel Weitsman) a question.
“What can the Dharma teach me about serving others?”
And the abbot answered, “What others? Serve yourself!”
The student persisted, “How will I learn how to serve myself?”
And of course, the abbot responded, “Take care of others.”