Why do we serve?
- Published: Friday, 21 June 2019 14:33
Tim Boyd – India, USA
Conventional Darwinian thinking emphasizes the survival of the fittest. From such a selfish, or evolutionary sense, service could be seen as a questionable activity. What is the advantage of serving, of being the one who bestows an advantage to another? Yet, it seems that we are hardwired with an inescapable urge to be compassionate. We cannot help it. Otherwise, why would it be that so much of our attention and effort is put into helping or aiding the very weakest among us? This is what we do instinctively, naturally.
As we age and become weak and infirm, or as we become sick, the evolutionary advantage would seem to be to look out for yourself and move on, but that is not what we do. Our energies, our attention, are inevitably focused on the weakest among us.
In Buddhist terms, the word used is “compassion”. It has become a buzz word in the world today, and it should be. In Buddhism there is a very specific definition of compassion. They would say that it is “the desire to alleviate the suffering of others”. So when we are behaving in compassionate ways we are working to-ward alleviating the suffering of others
H. P. Blavatsky’s The Voice of the Silence presents another way to look at compassion. In that short book we find the enigmatic word: “Compassion is no attribute. It is the Law of laws”. This is a very broad statement which seems to be clear and unambiguous, but what does it mean?
What is the compassion that rises to this level, superseding every other law we are aware of – gravity, thermodynamics, karma? Clearly this is not limited to a behavior in which we are attempting to alleviate suffering. Conscious compassionate activity, which we name “service”, is a subset of this great compassion.