By the time I completed my one or so hour’s weekly Friday morning walk on the trail, the landscape had changed considerably. The sun had risen higher in the sky above the trees, the shadows were shorter, the trail was brighter.
Let me go back to the start of the walk. A flock of migrating geese had laid claim to part of the trail’s entrance, which made me navigate a longer path than usual. Fair enough. They were there first, and they needed to feast on the grass more than I needed to walk on it! They did yield a bit of ground when they saw me, but I could sense from some honking that they were none too happy about it.
A few minutes into circling the pond, I saw a blue heron fly over with silent, effortless grace. It must have seen me coming, and as usual, wanted nothing to do with any human this early in the morning. A short while later, I managed to stir a gaggle of mallard ducks off of the pond. I was now three of three in managing to disturb three different sets of birds in a span of a few minutes. I surely wasn’t serving or healing them in any way today!
And yet, I felt my engagement with them, wordless as it was, serving me on this day as I processed some of my memories and emotions from twenty years ago. The highest example of service set by the first responders, fire fighters, police, medical personnel and thousands of others on that day is part of American history. Never to be forgotten. They served because they were compelled to answer the calls, and many paid with their lives for it. A lot of them, their families and friends, are still suffering, processing their grief and healing from that day.
As I continue my walk, I feel a sense of gratitude sweep over me for the fact that I was a witness to their acts of service. A sense of healing followed from the awareness that every one who served someone on that day became part of that history. The good karma of their service, and the healing that it effected, is forever embedded in their hearts and the hearts of those they served. Such is the nature of all acts of kindness, of goodness, of service to others — they all purify the server’s heart in ways big and small. Healing follows for the server and the recipient.
And so, I continue to walk the path because I have been inspired by so many who have oriented my heart towards an awareness to serve, to heal, and be healed in the process. I may not be able to serve everyone that I may come across – and just like the three sets of birds, I may even annoy them, but never mind that. I know that opportunities to serve will keep unfolding. I know that if I keep waking, walking and seeking, then it shall be given.
The Bhagavad Gita and many other scriptures say — Purify the heart through service or Seva and all the treasuries of truth, awareness and bliss shall be opened to you. That’s my inspiration to serve. I hope you find yours.
P.S. Join in for our weekly virtual walk and Twitter gathering in #SpiritChat – Sunday September 12 at 9am ET / 630pm India. We will serve tea and cookies, and heal together. Namaste – @AjmaniK