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Service and Exhaustion

Mar 18, 1998 03:11 PM
by Murray Stentiford

>>Finally, I believe that seeking to be of service is the best way for
>>spiritual growth to occur, provided any desire to acquire additional power
>>is wholly enveloped within and aligned towards that goal.
>I understand the ability to place oneself in another person's shoe.  I'm
>able to do that in ways that is more like empathy and connection.

Mmmmmm - sounds good.

I once heard somebody describe what they did as "listening with love" - a
gentle technique that has a lot of healing value and sounds within the reach
of most of us. What you're doing probably has an ingredient of that,
consciously or unconsciously.

>problem that I encountered was that I expend too much energy when placing
>myself in service of others.  Whenever I put myself out to people, the
>response was very positive, and I've gotten compliments on how well I
>interact.  However, after a period of contact with person(s), I am mentally
>and emotionally exhausted and need to cut off all contact with people.
>Does anyone else encounter this problem?  How can you consistently be kind,
>warm, giving and enthusiastic to people without losing your center?  I need
>a period of silence, selfishness and grumpiness just to balance myself.

Ah, yes :-)  A familiar pattern. I think people who give a lot this way
*need* to be alone and recharge inwardly, by whatever method works for them,
be it going on a nature walk, listening to some beautiful music, painting
something, meditating etc etc. And to give themselves space to be grumpy and
then more space for the waves and vortices in their energy system to subside
and the tendrils of consciousness to withdraw from the tangled alveoli of
thought and feeling, so to speak. A mixed medical metaphor, but the idea is
like the breath withdrawing from the many little pockets in the lungs to
recombine into one stream.

One method that works for me is a kind of light-seeking, centre-seeking
meditation that begins with a complete-as-possible relaxation of body and
mind. Sometimes, the right kind of music does it, but oddly I don't usually
like music going at the same time as meditating. Sometimes a
spiritually-recharging, soul-contacting conversation with another person
does it, where we discover an inner resonance and share in a way that leaves
both feeling inwardly fed and glowing. That last one sounds a little odd -
to recover from being with people by having the right kind of exchange with
another person - but I find it works. Sometimes a good theosophical meeting
- even an e-mail exchange - can lead to this effect.

In fact, it wouldn't be a bad idea for theosophical groups to make it a goal
for *all* their meetings and dialogs to leave people feeling recharged and
all lit up, having delighted in each other's presence. Even had fun! IT IS
POSSIBLE - I know.  It happened in my "Karma Drama" study course evening
last week. And there was a lot of it at the NZ TS Convention early this year.

I think that further along the evolutionary track, there are those who know
how to keep their centre, probably because the connection to it is so wide
and clear, and the centre of gravity of their consciousness is so much more
into the realm of light, while doing all sorts of arduous things under
difficult circumstances. The energy just seems to flood through them. But
even they, I think, need time to be reflective and attune inwardly.


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