Serving Others and Serving Ourselves

With the way things are right now, I hope we’re all wishing the best for President Obama, whether we voted for him or not, because we have so many problems and we really need a leader who can deal with them. You might have seen that two of his top cabinet appointments resigned because of tax problems. I love what Obama did on NBC News and on CNN —  he said, “I screwed up.”  He said that part of the era of responsibility is not never making mistakes, it’s owning up to them. This is really all about The One Minute Apology. He said, “I campaigned on changing Washington and bottom-up politics. I don’t want to send a message to the American people that there are two sets of standards—one for powerful people and one for ordinary folks who are working every day and paying their taxes.”  I admire that.

I’ve talked with some of my friends recently about the idea of serving two masters or two kingdoms or two worlds—the two worlds are really ourselves and others – Ourselves and the highest good – Ourselves and leading at a higher level. It’s a constant battle, because that little ego is waiting there to kind of snap us up periodically and make us think that the world really centers around us, rather than saying, “Gee, I wonder how I can help. I wonder how I can support. I wonder how I can reach out to make a difference to somebody else.” I think we need to recognize that there are these two worlds and these two focuses. How do we balance those two, or at least be aware when our self is in charge? And then watch it—so that more often than not, we can be serving others and making a difference in other people’s lives. It’s a constant battle—a constant conflict between serving ourselves and serving others. You have to recognize that it’s not always an easy task. So my thought for you today is: Watch out. Get out of your own way as much as you can, and recognize that you really, finally, become an adult when you realize you’re here to serve rather than be served, and to give rather than get. But also recognize that little “self” that sneaks up once in a while.