January Practice: Serve Your Community

Daily Life, Practice | service, altruism, democracy

January 02, 2018

Photo: Daniel Funes Fuentes, Unsplash

We believe that democracy as a way of life can be strengthened and deepened through spiritual practices—both those traditionally considered to be "inner work" and those that require active engagement with our neighbors and communities. In partnership with our friends at Spirituality & Practice, we are sharing monthly practices to help us all “practice democracy” from the inside out.

The usual pitch, when it comes to volunteering, is that it's appropriate to give something back. We're called upon to serve as a fundamental responsibility. What this pitch obscures is that service is actually a privilege. Whether in a soup kitchen, battered-women's shelter, community garden, or Little League, service opens our hearts, connects us to the world, and fills the present moment with meaning. While service provides assistance to those in need and/or to the community, its foremost beneficiary is almost always the one who serves.

This month's practice comes from Raphael Cushnir in How Now: 100 Ways to Celebrate the Present Moment.

Find a few hours a week for service. Choose a location or organization that you feel strongly about. Look for a position that takes advantage of your strengths or one that involves a refreshing change of pace from your usual work. Since the opportunity to make a contribution is a privilege, treat everyone you meet with appreciation.

Visit Spirituality & Practice's PracticingDemocracy.net for more resources.