Service to Others Vs. Service to Self – A new age dichotomy – Part 2

continued from part 1

Other than being designated as the bogey man creed, “Service to Self” does not get as much talk as “Service to Others”.  Indeed, Service to Self is often just brushed upon quickly as The Thing To Not Do, and left along.  In my view, there are times when a “Service to Self” lifestyle is perfectly justified.  There are times when you may be in trouble or just otherwise need to take care of yourself.  If you’re hurt, it makes sense that you should try to heal yourself first before exerting yourself, especially for the benefit of other people.  If you’re young or otherwise in a developmental stage of some sort, it makes sense for you to concentrate on growing or otherwise maturing yourself before getting your hands dirty.  To use a better example, children are for the most part served by others in society, and while adults may find it endearing for children in act in selfless ways from time to time, it’s considered normal for children to prioritize their own needs first – to be selfish.

Of course, the above is written under the assumption that you are valuable and worthy.  That if you are hurt, you should be healed.  If you need the time to mature or to figure some things out, it’s fine to take the time to do so.  That a general, and reasonable goal for you to have in life is to be healthy, physically and mentally, and to be happy and in possession of what you want out of life.  As a result of these general assumptions, it is considered ok for you to live a “Service to Self” lifestyle when the needs and wants arise – because you too, is worth it.

An alternate, and usually unspoken view found sometimes in society and new age sources, is the idea that one should serve no matter what.  One should simply serve.  One is simply a worthless cog in a much greater machine, connected to everything else, and only through service does one acquire some sort of worth or position in society/life/the spiritual realm.  The service to others comes first and foremost, while whatever left over energy and time one have may be spent on serving oneself, but as an almost shameful, secret activity much akin to masturbation.  The fact that you can sometimes observe people getting outraged whenever they learn of a business, be it big or small, or any individual trying to make any profit, alludes to this attitude.  This attitude often gets in people’s minds through habit and repeated exposure to the idea of serving others.  It tends to exist subconsciously without one’s awareness, and is frequently coupled with guilt or feelings of worthlessness as described previously.  It’s not a bad idea to reflect on yourself and observe the working of your own mind, just to see if this idea is there.  Often times this attitude, if you do possess it, tend to evaporate like piss under sunlight once you become aware of it, since it usually doesn’t make logical sense and has only gotten in your subconscious through habit.

taoFrom my own observation, I am of the impression that healthy, well-adjusted people who are spiritually growing throughout their lives tend to undulate between service to others and service to self.  They focus more on themselves when the situation calls for it, and serve others when they are stable and doing well.  Because they truly see themselves as worthy of their own love, they eventually develop the sympathy and empathy needed to serve others sincerely.  Even then, this is a bit of a generalization.  Very few people ever live in a way where they are completely service to others or service to self.  Even when someone like this is largely selfish, they would still sometimes serve others.  And likewise, even when they are mostly serving others, they still do what’s needed to keep themselves healthy and prosperous.  Even when one have undulated to a point in their life where they are mostly service to self or service to other, they will still have a little of the other side in them.

Once again though, I’ll reiterate the importance of self-love.  It is the first and most important step of the journey.  Without love for oneself, one would not see worth and value in oneself.  Without seeing value in oneself, one cannot serve other people with love in one’s heart.  Having missed that crucial first step, then love, as a motivation, would instead be replaced by fear, greed, peer pressure, habit, guilt, and god knows what other negative shit from society that can get inside one’s mind.  Even if you’re still serving others and doing “good”, the very core of your being and the spiritual force behind your actions are perverted. Worse still, without love for oneself, one is demonized from serving and helping oneself, even when they have the genuine need to do so.  If you have love for yourself in your heart, all of these no longer become an issue, as all of these things would become balanced on their own over time as you do your best to live your life.  You will serve yourself as needed without feelings of guilt, and as you become strong, you will develop the empathy required to want to serve other people on your own, out of that love and your own free will.

I don’t know if I’ve gotten the importance of loving yourself across, or the idea that you can do as you please, be it serving others or yourself, as the needs and wants rise and wane in your life.  The love for the self comes first, and the service to others MAY follow.  Espousing the service to others while ignoring, or even discouraging the love of the self, and to enforce said service through threats, guilt, greed, fear and other negative emotions is an unnatural, twisted thing to do. At this point I am starting to ramble a little. I shall end this article with the following quote, perhaps it will be more concise than what I’ve said here:

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.

-Aleister Crowley


2 thoughts on “Service to Others Vs. Service to Self – A new age dichotomy – Part 2

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