The penultimate step of A Program Of Miracles
is to discover how giving service to humanity is
one of the greatest acts of self-love. It's been
said in many spiritual programs that in order to keep what we have, we must give it away.
There are millions of people who are living like the walking wounded having been raised in families that did not serve them well. On the outside these people look, dress, act and speak normally. However, on the inside, they are hurting. These people are everywhere and working in every type of job.
Their anger may be destructive, or they may have turned the anger inward and created depression. They may be super human caretakers doing everything for everyone else. They may be seeking external power to cover up their deep personal insecurities. We know this, because we are one of them. This step asks us to reach out and serve those who are also searching.
We do this in many ways. The primary way is to be constantly grounded in self-love. When we know ourselves and we are in the company of someone who does not love themselves, we set the example and show others there is another way. We don't need to say anything or do anything, others will feel our self-love.
Our self-love includes setting firm boundaries for ourselves in relationships with others, saying no when it's right for us, having our opinions but appreciating others’ different opinions at the same time, listening, really listening, to when someone is talking to us and taking responsibility for how we respond to other people knowing that we no longer blame others for the way we feel.
A practical way of giving service to others is to put ourselves aside for someone else at least once a day. This may mean giving way in traffic, offering someone our place in the queue, putting aside time for our child when we would rather do something else, picking up someone else's rubbish and putting it in the trash or not reacting to someone else's anger towards us because we know it actually has nothing to do with us.
We may carry out service by volunteering to help an organization once a week. This may be as simple as visiting people, making coffee in a shelter, taking on duties at a 12-step meeting or becoming a volunteer on a telephone helpline. These are only examples of things we might look to do. Find something that fulfills your new mindset of service.
Serving humanity is often a 180 degree turn around for many of us. Instead of looking at what we can gain from the world, we begin the idea of how we can give. This act of giving creates a new pathway towards peace in our hearts and serenity in our minds. It helps us embrace the idea of unconditional self-love and our inner child while walking in the footsteps of our Higher Power.
As our own self-love increases, we recognize that our parents did not love themselves. Because they did not love themselves, they never accepted our gift of love to them. We have spent many years trying to love them, but because we couldn't, we thought we had done something wrong and we buried that wounded child. But because we were desperate for love ourselves, we chased people, places and things believing it lived elsewhere. But finally, we came home and recognized that our Higher Power is the seat of our love and we can rest in his arms and allow his love to flow through us.
As this love grows we offer a hand of hope to others by reaching out and offering our service where appropriate. We don't do this to seek personal power. Instead, we recognize we have moved out of isolation and do not intend to go back.
We aim to become a part of the increasingly recognized universal desire to become one world – to work within the Law Of Nature. The Law Of Nature encompasses life in the right way according to Natural Law. Natural Law is an objective and everlasting continuance of ‘being’, which cannot be broken, because it’s unconquerable. But it can be violated. For example, we can cause environmental destruction to our planet, but we cannot break the natural law under which the planet operates.
Adhering to Natural Law is to walk the least suffering and most nourishing path. We were born with this natural tendency and now we can rediscover the path of right action, which is inherently a part of us. We know that it’s wrong to harm others. However, we may harm others even in ignorance because we are not steeped in self-love and our inner wisdom is silent. But, living within the Natural Law helps us to become aware of our carelessness and brings us back to the true manifesto.
Serving others is one way of working within the Law of Nature. The more we serve the more we become innately in tune with what makes us capable of behaving in the correct way. We want to serve others in a positive way, but how do we know what’s the right way? How do we know we are working within the Law Of Nature?
We are minds, bodies and souls. Our minds create thoughts and these thoughts are powerful because they affect the level of our consciousness. Our bodies house our feelings and they dominate how we view the world. Our souls are our connection to our Higher Power and He guides us to our life’s purpose. We keep our minds clean through meditation, we keep our feelings steady through self-love and we keep our souls strong through prayer.
When all three are nourished and aligned, we live in a state of presence - the pure state of enlightenment. We instinctively know what is required of us to live under the Natural Law and, finally, we want to obey and live a life of everlasting peace and happiness.
Do three things for others today. Do these things in the spirit of ‘service to humanity.’