Being of service to our fellows is an essential part of any spiritual program. Practicing mindfulness is a wonderful tool for connecting with others and serving our fellows. We are able to increase our usefulness, check our intentions, and be present.
The first practice for increasing mindfulness in service work is to act with compassion toward the others. Jack Kornfield suggests we may imagine covering our fellow in a cloak of mindfulness and loving-kindness. Doing this, we are able to make the other feel comfortable and loved.
The second practice for mindfulness in service work is to check our intentions. When helping others, listening to a loved one’s struggle, or doing a good deed, we must ask ourselves what our intention is. For many people. the true intention is to look good and caring to others, to get something for ourselves, or some other selfish motive. We may shift our intention by practicing compassion, and seeing that by being of service, we are serving the world.
A final practice of mindfulness in service work is to LISTEN. We have written about this before, and stress that listening is a crucial aspect of compassion in our relationships of any kind. We may practice mindfulness by simply listening to another. When we are listening mindfully, we are not just hearing, but feeling the emotions of the other person, hearing the pain and happiness, and also noticing our attention. If we are not able to pay attention, it may be better for us to let the other person know, and return to the conversation at another time.