I went to a service today at a church called the Unitarian Universalist Church. I suppose it’s the congregation in Phoenix, but at any rate, the church is up on Lincoln and 40th Street.
This month they’re talking about service. Service is something that I miss, after having been relatively isolated for the past year or so and after having left the twelve-step program.
I haven’t had many opportunities for it and so I’ve been thinking about what is a good way to express myself as far as my need to be of service goes, my need to be valued in a variety of ways.
When I was in a twelve-step program I did a lot of service. I almost always chaired a meeting and that was often just an exclusive thing for me. I would just chair a particular meeting and take turns only if I needed to, only if I needed to be out of town or something would I let that go.
So at any rate that’s Hutch, she came to me from the rabbit hutch outside. I found her inside the rabbit hutch. I’m pretty sure she was the runt of the litter. She’s a tiny, tiny cat. I haven’t had her fixed because I had another very small cat, a cat that didn’t mature or didn’t grow, at any rate. She matured, or would have, but I had the surgery done so that she wouldn’t become pregnant. I had her spayed and shortly thereafter she died and the vets told me that sometimes, if they had certain heart conditions, the anesthesia would exacerbate it and they suspected that that may have been the reason why she died at such a young age.
Her name was Bright and Bright loved to watch the fish. The last video I have of her (which is on my Facebook account) shows her watching the fish and playing with the fish, and this is me not realizing that she was dying, that this is her last day – because the day after that she pretty much collapsed and was almost entirely immobile and that was when I took her to the vet.
So service is interesting and we can speak about service with the cats. There have been a couple of occasions where I have been of service to animals by helping them to pass in a relatively painless way, relatively. So that’s an opportunity to be of service and I’ve done that.
The connection aspect of this is great, being of service to others, whether it’s helping someone to die or helping them to eat (survive) or to feel better, you know, to clean up their place even. It doesn’t really matter. What it is is an opportunity for us to be a part of something larger than ourselves.
So much of human identity revolves around the self and so little of it (at least here in the West, here in Phoenix Arizona), so little of it revolves around the community. The community is huge in the East, eastern philosophy. It’s traditionally been large and it’s growing in the West. We’re starting to see how it’s beneficial. People are longing for that sense of community, longing for the sense of belonging, longing for that group that can surround them so that one that they can feel supported by and loved by.
We don’t have, geographically, as strong a sense of community as we used to. Even if you live in a city, say a city such as Phoenix, where you can go anywhere in the city to have dinner or to buy groceries. It doesn’t have to be the neighborhood store or the restaurant at the end of the street. It can be anywhere. Some folks will fly to other countries or what have you to enjoy a meal. So a lot of things have changed but that need to be part of something larger still remains.
Being of service, whether it’s being of service to one other individual, helping them to do something (learn, shop, clean, it doesn’t really matter); that is a connection established that can be quite strong. So this is another way of deepening the connection.
This is why, when I talk about making love, when I speak about the sexual act, I talk about it because it’s an opportunity to become something larger than yourself. There’s always an opportunity to connect with others and to imagine someone else’s disposition say, their state of mind, their mood, and their body movements.
I noticed this the other day in my turtles. I was watching my turtles climb out of their pond and I was considering what it was like, what it would be like to be that particular turtle: pushing against a rock with some claws trying to lift this heavy body out of the water, this shell. So for a turtle that’s quite a heavy item, and they don’t have to be that strong to swim. They only have to be strong like that in order to get out of the water.
So a lot of things about this seemed valuable to me, but as I was sitting there, I was imagining what it would feel like to try and push against a rock and to try to consider what would be the best way of advancing up the pile of rocks. Turtles consider this. If they don’t like the position that one method of getting out, they will change their method. They’ll go to a different place; they’ll use a different claw to push against the other rocks, and they’ll do a lot of different things to try and maneuver to where whatever it is that they’re wanting becomes easy.
So when making love, I think that this is an opportunity to consider what the other person is experiencing, just as I was considering what the turtle was experiencing and actually feeling it my body, pushing against it with the leg, pushing against the rocks with my legs, pulling with the other claws, and pushing the shell over the edge of the rocks so that the balance was helpful to the folks doing the job.
So when we’re making love though, here’s an opportunity to be close to someone that’s close to us. Here’s an opportunity while they’re feeling pleasure, so there’s no real downside to this. It’s certainly not scary because the other person might be thinking something completely different. You go to the pleasure that they’re feeling, so you go directly and connect with their feelings when making love. This technique allows one to expand one’s consciousness, allows one to open one’s heart more than just having sex might.
This definitely is a bigger and better tool in a lot of ways, over not doing it or versus having sex without engaging the conscious mind, but I think a lot of people do exactly that. I mean, the farthest they’re willing to think during sex is to the sensations that they’re feeling and that can be pretty empty in the long run because those sensations aren’t going to change no matter what.
So this is the opportunity that we have to begin to connect with something larger than ourselves. This is the opportunity that we have to begin, to do the first basis of meditation, the realization of the emptiness. This can occur during an observational period of someone else, and I think that’s probably what’s been going on. At any rate, there’s an opportunity to have an open heart and be a good leader or there’s also the opportunity to be a little bit shut down and figure “Well, I don’t know if it’s all going to be exactly right so I won’t put forth my best efforts,” that sort of thing. So we tend to want to stop this.
If we’re being of service to someone or some ideal or some belief system, then we need to give it a hundred percent of whatever we’ve got going on during the time that we’re there and that’s important to everyone.
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