I’d like to look at the idea—the concept—of “being of service.” From the perspective of separateness, we often desire to help, to fix, to ameliorate; and of course there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s possible to be of service in that way, clearly. From a deeper perspective, however, we have to talk about it a little differently.

From the perspective of non-separation—of union, of oneness—there is no “other” to help, no “other” to fix. Compassion is then simply the natural experience of being with pain, whether that pain is in your own body or someone else’s body.

So I would say that “being of service” in the deepest sense is simply being. Not doing something—not being identified with a doer—but surrendering to the pain of the apparent other: the pain of not being able to do anything; the pain of allowing someone else to suffer. This is not callous; this is actually profoundly compassionate. Letting go allows healing to take place, whatever form that healing may take.

If someone is suffering, simply being there with them is a profound service, really the greatest gift we have to give to each other. When you accept the moment completely, they have the opportunity to accept it as well. That acceptance is love. It is profound support, profound nourishment. It is the light and energy of life itself. That’s the ultimate service.

So being there is enough. In that profound presence, there’s no identity around “being of service.” Identity doesn’t exist in that realm.