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A 16 Guidelines view on


Service is the outer expression of a wish to benefit someone – to increase their happiness. At its best, it is an expression of caring, sharing, and delighting in each other. When it arises effortlessly and spontaneously, it is beautiful to watch. Service can also be experienced as a duty. Instead of being light and joyful, it feels heavy and burdensome. For most of us, learning how to serve - and to be served - is a lifetime task.

In every moment there is an opportunity to make someone else’s life a little bit easier or nicer. Every thought, word and action that flows from us in a loving way has the potential to create happiness. Are we willing to find within ourselves the sensitivity and intelligence, the clarity and conviction that this will take?

The rewards are huge. As we discover and deepen our wish for other people to be happy, we also find the key to our own happiness. Nobody gets left out of the equation. This is the golden rule of heart-felt service that underpins the great spiritual and wisdom traditions of the world. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto yourself.”


To help and benefit others in whatever ways we can

A reflection on 


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The benefits of


  • make someone else’s life a little bit easier or nicer

  • distract ourselves from an exclusive and exhausting focus on ‘me me me’

  • find satisfaction, purpose and joy through building warm-hearted connections with others

Did you know?

Research conducted with 15-16 year old students concluded that, compared to the non-volunteers, the controlled group who volunteered showed a steep drop in risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including cholesterol levels and body mass index, at the end of 10 weeks. These benefits were even more pronounced for students whose empathy and altruistic behaviors increased the most and whose negative moods lessened over those 10 weeks.

Another study concluded that service during university years substantially enhances student’s academic development, life skill development, and sense of civic responsibility.

‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’


‘Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your vocation.’


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