“Through Service to humanity, without consideration for race, religion, gender, age or political affiliation I have often been able to touch and understand the essence of divinity!... On this National Day of Service may we all remember that service manifests positive change in the world and in those providing the service!”
These words flowed from me this morning in response to the National Day of Service being observed by many Americans. While the words are new, they are indicative of an inner conversation about ‘service as a spiritual path’ that I have been embroiled in for some time.
When I engage in service that transcends the boundaries and labels that define my beliefs, political persuasions, and personal identity there is a real sense of having engaged in something pure, meaningful and divinely manifested. Clearly the Gods I follow and my experience of them have little relation to the labels I apply in order to feel a part of a larger community.
Inversely, I have engaged in service that clearly serves communities that I am involved with. While I have found this experience meaningful, the lack of feeling that I have accomplished goals that transcend self-interest leaves something missing; namely divinity. What strikes me is that this “Self Service” is something completely different that unavoidably involves ego, achievement and artificial constructs of success and leadership.
At the heart of this internal debate is the proposition that the labels, beliefs and communities themselves establish a limitation on my efforts and my effectiveness in engageing with others in service.
If extra communal service brings me closer to divinity, evolves quicker into meaningful change in the world and allows me to engage with a vast pool of people of good conscious, why do I continue to hold up the ethic of service within community as admirable?
Divinity for me lies in saving homes, feeding hungry people, responding to crisis when others shy away and engaging those of less privilege than myself. Helping those least like myself, in the knowledge that we are all one human community.
For me, Service is my Spiritual Path. It is where I find meaning, where the Goddess touches me for a brief moment providing clarity, insight and comfort.
So what to do with the labels? First it is clear that these labels contribute to tearing asunder the world’s efforts to establish compassion, understanding and unity of purpose in service. Second, it is clear that my path has more to do with humanity as a whole than an insular community. Finally, I will commit to seeing the divinity in all who provide service from their heart.
So I engage in Service as a Spiritual Path, with people of all beliefs, cultures and communities. This is my pagan path with a small ‘p’. I will leave capitalization for the form of service its’ self.
May you also find the ability to touch divinity through service, no matter what labels you may embrace!