Three Keys to Wholeness: Love, Service, and Wisdom
People have been searching for wholeness for a long time. In recent years the trends for finding it have been through rebellion, escaping through drugs and alcohol, pursuing success (buying things and gaining titles), and living your passion. The key has never been, and never will be, somewhere out there. It’s always inside. You don’t need a guru to find it. You don’t need years of practice to obtain it. I will give you the three keys to wholeness right now. They are love, service, and wisdom.
Unfortunately, we have a lot of ideas about what love is that have nothing to do with love. We confuse it with obsession, possession, insecurity, jealousy and other things that aren’t particularly lovely then blame love when it hurts.
Love is none of those things. It is an attitude of respect and appreciation for all people and things. Love is the glue that holds everything together. Without it, nothing else works.
Love is inclusive. It isn’t restricted to people with whom we have a romantic relationship. It isn’t a feeling that we only have for people who share our DNA. If you want this key to work for you, you have to cultivate an attitude of respect and appreciation for all people and things.
Perhaps you don’t like meat eaters, rapists, Pro-Choicers, Christians, black cats, or pumpkins. You are entitled to your preferences, but if they mean that you can’t respect and appreciate those things, you are not walking in love and you’ve still got some work to do. It’s really that simple. Love doesn’t withdraw from things. It doesn’t separate. It unites.
This doesn’t mean that you can go out and become a murderer because you now respect murderers. On the contrary, it allows you to have compassion for those who kill. It drastically diminishes the possibility that you could ever be a murderer because you see yourself in all things. Your compassion could be the thing that brings the murder back into harmony with himself and all of creation as well. Love is powerful.
So how does someone who doesn’t know love feel it? Fortunately, love is not about what comes to you, but what you send out. It increases when you give it away, so you’re all you need to get started. Just find something easy to love, something that either loves you in return or is neutral. This could be your pet, your child, your mother, or even a tree in your back yard.
Just send love to that person or thing. No matter what you get back – even if you get nothing back- keep on sending love. If you can, add loving gestures such as soothing speech, compliments, or favors. Notice how you feel when you do that. Expect nothing in return, but do notice what comes back.
When that feels easy, move on to something or someone that is harder like someone you have a neutral or casual acquaintance with or even someone with whom you have a conflictual relationship. Notice how that energy of love feels when you send it out. How do you feel as you do this? Notice how the relationship evolves. If you can add kind, respectful gestures, like holding the door open or wishing someone good morning, do that too. You want your outside to be a reflection of your inside.
Continue practicing this with more and more creatures, in more and more situations, with harder and harder people. If you really hate smokers, send love to smokers until you no longer feel this way. Any time something or someone tweaks you, send love to it until the feeling of respect returns. The more sincerely you do this, the closer to that Oneness you will become.
It may be helpful to “discharge” before attempting this. What I mean is, if you feel that you have had a hard day and are carrying heavier energies – either your own or someone else’s – send them into the earth. The earth is a fabulous filter that can neutralize them. Once this is gone, you may have more space in your heart for love easily to flow from you.
What happened to pride in working? I know every generation talks about the one before being less hardy, but it seems to me that we have a lot of people walking the earth now who believe that they are due a warm place to live, a big salary, a nice car, healthcare, applause, and on and on – simply because they were born. That’s the wrong attitude. Wholeness requires an attitude of service, not “give me.” It’s about what I can do for you.
Service is the creative expression and honoring of your gifts through work. It is aiding creation by using the unique interests, talents, and gifts that you were born with for the benefit of all. Self-help gurus have clued into this and are pushing “live your passion,” but that’s not quite it. What I see are people pushing the live your passion idea so that passion leads to financial independence and happiness. That’s not serving the whole. That’s serving the self.
Now don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with material reward for your work. I am not advocating taking a vow of poverty. I am saying that motivation matters. If you view work as a means to an end, you probably won’t feel particularly fulfilled by it because no matter how much money you make, it won’t buy happiness. If you are looking at work as a means to serve, you’re more likely to find fulfillment in the task and take joy in whatever reward it brings you.
Do what you do because your heart tells you you must. Do what you get paid to do because it serves the whole. It doesn’t matter if you are a tax preparer or editor. On the surface it may seem that those types of jobs don’t really matter. They do matter. Working with numbers or words is a skill set. Know your worth. Accept that you’re helping someone by engaging in that activity. Know that you matter and you will whistle while you work – at least in your heart.
And if your work doesn’t allow you to feel that, find a different way to serve. Volunteer. Teach. Lobby Congress. Heal. Service doesn’t always have to be tied to money. We all serve every day. We just may not see it that way. When you help your daughter write a resume, that’s service. Walking your neighbor’s dog when he’s away is service. When you take your mom grocery shopping or talk to a friend who is depressed, that’s service.
If you are confused, I suggest that you separate work from service. Separate money from service. Service doesn’t have to be work nor dos it have to be paid. Finally, ask yourself, “Can I see myself in this action?” If you’re heart is not a reflection of your actions, it’s probably not service.
Lots of people pursue wisdom. Online classes are a booming business. Podcasts are probably more utilized now than books. Everybody’s got a guru, personal trainer, financial advisor, or some sort of coach on the payroll. We are a intellectual society that is hungry for more. It’s as if we believe data is the key to safety, security, health, and happiness.
Data is not wisdom. Your head can be full of facts. You can be incredibly logical and reasonable and still lack wisdom. Wisdom is about connecting with your authentic self. It’s about living from your inner guidance. It has nothing to do with education. It is the type of knowing that can be applied to any culture, at any time period, or any reason.
Try this. Be still and quiet. Calm your mind. Check in with your body. Notice where there are areas of relaxation and tension. What temperature changes do you notice? Notice whatever there is to notice. The goal is not to change anything, just to establish a baseline.
Now think about something that is troubling or has you stuck. Ask yourself “Is this good for me?” or something that will help you get to the heart of the matter. Make sure the question doesn’t start with “should.” The body can’t answer that type of question. Pay attention to the subtle changes that happen in your body. It will give you clues to help steer you in the direction of truth.
The body always knows the truth. It may take some time to figure out the way that it expresses, but it always speaks true. For example, I bit into an apple and almost immediately began to feel “off.” I knew without thinking about it that it was not healthy for me. It was not organic and I didn’t peel it. It probably was ladened with pesticides, and my body responded. If I wasn’t paying attention, I may have eaten the whole thing.
Another example is once I was investigating doing business with a company. Everything was very smooth. I liked all parties. They had a track record of success. I felt that everything could be done as proposed. Then I got the contract. The language was so incongruent with every contact I had so far. My body tensed up just reading it. My mind was saying, “Oh, that’s just lawyer speak. There is nothing objectionable in the contract anyway.” My body said differently. Which part of me do you think was right?
Your inner self is always speaking to you. Listen. It will help you with big things, like what do you want to do with your life, and small things, like should I eat this apple? You are an important part of the whole. It’s up to you to take care of you and be you. You can’t do that if you don’t know who you are. Consult your wisdom. Live your wisdom. All misalignment comes from not living your wisdom.
Love, service, and wisdom don’t require study to adopt. They don’t require a teacher. You don’t have to engage in any rituals. They are easy to do. You can do them in a way that is meaningful and personal to you. They can change your life. Why not cultivate them?