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  • Daniel Rodman

The Phases of the Heart of Service

Service is the greatest of all actions. It is love in action. It is the full expression of the heart in the world. Service is cultivated slowly but surely for those who dedicate their hearts to service. Whether it looks like helping friends out in times of need, helping the homeless, being a social worker or a politician, or being a spiritual aspirant, service has many ways and many forms. When we look at the progression people go through in their development of a Heart of Service, there are three primary phases one can see.

The first phase is like a king serving his people. It is noble, and proud, and shines like a beacon on a hill. It is the outermost layer of the Heart of Service. In this place there can still be a self-reflective awareness that thinks “look I am such a good giver!”. It is not inherently selfish, but simply an easy downfall at this point. The nobility of this stage guides the heart of service to the next phase.

The next phase is like a person serving their close family. This goes through the abstract layers of noble service to realize a genuine regard for the people you serve. In this place you are so close with those you serve they are like family, they are your intimates. The service is sweet like honey, and the emphasis is more just about fulfilling the needs of the needy and not so self reflective. The deep intimacy of this phase finally gives way to the last and final phase.

The last phase of the Heart of Service is like the way the hand that cradles the foot when it steps on a thorn. It is instantly responsive from a non-separate place. It acts out of the innate union of all beings in the heart. There is no thinking about it, you just do it. In this place we are all one body, one heart, one spirit, and we act in accord with the ultimate reality. It is innately blissful, and the fullest expression of our hearts reality. This phase arises after deep prolonged practice and service to others.

The three phases above are not mutually exclusive, since all three are together. Non-separation, intimacy, and nobility are all expanding layers of the expression of the Heart of Service, and they are the full expression of service in all its attributes. Ultimately the outer two layers of nobility and intimacy give way to the realization of non-separation or unity, but they can all be present for the sake of the world. May you come to know the phases of the Heart of Service, that you may aspire greatly for their fulfillment.

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