“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
The Open Mind
To have an open mind is the same lesson from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird when he tells Scout to walk, in her imagination, in another man’s shoes. This advice has been repeated over and over by our great thinkers like Abraham Lincoln.
We learn open mindness from our adventures and travel. We learn it from the Arts as we see the peril and thoughts of those in dramatic situations. The wider the arc, the easier it is to see and understand another person’s beliefs and standings.
Christian leaders in the past have told us to not have an open mind because it would invite the invasion of demons into our selves. It makes a kind of sense, I guess, to not be easily swayed from one’s faith when listening to another man’s spiel.
Core to the idea of the open mind is the life of service. This is the building up or the support of others in your life. To understand their dreams and goals and doing something about it so they can achieve those ends is what means a life of service. This is why you wanted an open mind in the first place.
The rewards, as vague as they may seem, are humility and compassion and grace. These come naturally as a product of service when it is not all about you and your journey. You are very humble when you work for someone else’s goals (especially when unappreciated!). You learn compassion at their failures. You have grace because you gave freely. Service.
Now, the above statement should not be seen as a knock on those who wish to learn humility. Those in the search should be admired for their heart’s desire.
People in the life of service rarely become leaders. The Gandhis and Jimmy Carters and Billy Grahams are the exception and, truly, they were exceptional. More likely they are the power behind the throne. Or they are the pastor or the wife or husband or the designer or chef or teacher or politician or cop or, well, you get the idea.
Life should never be about the solitary quest for anything. We are a people and a planet. How can I make your day better without asking you is my daily question. What bit of service may I provide to smooth the ride and the journey that you wish to take? Because, I do believe in you; I see what you dream. I understand your point of view.
Sometimes it looks like it is ALL the same thing. The search for peace or the making of art or the value of friendship or the commitment to another or learning simple manners. Everything that I want to do is about making your life better.