The Riches of Service

Giving service has always felt like a luxury only the rich and healthy can afford. While most people are grinding away at their jobs to provide the needs of life, a select population can volunteer time and resources to aid one cause or another. Kind people use this surplus of resources to serve while others use it to live extravagantly. But Dhamma service is teaching me a new definition.

When people finish serving a 10-day course, instead of feeling exhausted from all the hard work, they often feel energized because they’ve received much more than they’ve given. While there is a temporary fatigue, the psyche is energized. This concept of receiving by giving is paradoxical in the framework of our profit-based economy. When we give at work, we expect to receive money to demarcate our service, and we hold onto the cash with the attachment of ego. I earned this money, so I will choose when and How I will spend it!

But what if the true currency in life isn’t money? Instead it’s this fluid energy that flows continuously through all of our relationships and society. When we serve society, this energy grows stronger within us and provides all the mental riches we could ever want. When we stop serving and become attached to money or physical tokens, our energy becomes weak and we become miserable regardless of what we have in our possession. The riches of energy and wealth aren’t inversely related. Individuals with both great and minimal financial wealth  know how to serve society, and many on both sides of the spectrum do not. The currency that seems to matter is this hard to define energy. Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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