I am again working to complete a meditation challenge from Oprah & Deepak at the Chopra Center for Meditation. This one, titled Desire and Destiny, is a 21-day exercise, with daily 15 minute meditations. I’m attempting to journal every day using the prompts provided in the program, and would like to share my feelings here. Not as a narrative or organized fashion, but more for my own posterity.
Day 15: How Can I Serve?
We reflected deeply on the soul questions “How can I serve?” during today’s meditation. Take time to really explore answers that come through your writing – just write freely.
It took me most of the meditation to answer this question, because each time I answered it, I found a different answer.
My initial answer was that I should help others, but this seems rather obvious when the question is asking about my serving abilities. I wouldn’t be helping myself, would I? Of course I can help others. So I asked again.
I then found that the answer that rang out required me to be a listener. To use my innate skills, as well as those taught and honed through my years as a therapist to listen to others, especially when they have no other place to be heard. I don’t think I was necessarily thinking of grand gestures like listening to people on building ledges and bridges, but just providing a place where others can feel heard. This answer felt comfortable, especially as I ask for a lot of listening on the part of my friends and family.
I asked again and found that I was also meant to be a voice. Not a voice for the oppressed, but a voice which made the human condition more acceptable. A voice which normalized the experiences we all have, so that we can feel less alone in them, despite our ultimate aloneness.
These two things together made me think of therapy, and writing, and of what makes me good at them: my mind. But it’s not just about my mind, because my mind is only as good at these tasks as it is capable of being in the present moment. The real way I think I can share is by learning to be more present in my life, either in listening or speaking, to hear what needs to be heard, and say what needs to be said.
What are three specific actions you can take to illuminate the world around you through sharing your unique gifts and talents in service to others?
I think I need to work to cultivate trust with my coworkers, because while we’re not a sharing community per se, there is always the opportunity to allow for listening and speaking when others need support. I can work to put my phone down more, especially when in any kind of conversation. Having my face glued to a device is a disservice to myself and a complete barrier to being present. Finally, I can work to create opportunities for friends and family to speak if they need to, by reaching out to ask how they are, and giving the space for replies–not making conversations or emails rushed.
What are you grateful for today?
My supportive work environment. I am struggling to make sure I am doing my job well, and sometimes that interferes with my ability to do it at all. My coworkers were all incredibly supportive to me in my mild distress, giving me words of encouragement that have helped me gain the trust I should have in myself.
Use this space to reflect further on your experience today.
I had a good meditative space today, a deep, thoughtful meditation with out too much wandering or distraction. I spent time focusing on the mantra and my own thoughts about the topic, especially since I’ve felt like the past few sessions haven’t lead to cohesive or structured conclusions or revelations in my own mind. At the same time, saying that aloud reminds me that not every session can be a transformative epiphany. I need to let each session be exactly what it is. So, then, today was a good session.