The Essence of Volunteering – Live Life Willingly
Q: Sadhguru, you often stress on simply doing what’s needed. What exactly does this mean in the context of volunteering?
Sadhguru: Whenever there are people in any given place who hold others’ wellbeing above their own, suddenly that situation becomes very powerful and beautiful at the same time. If only the world was full of people like this, it would be a grand place to live. Whatever is needed, if someone needs their nose wiped, they are willing to do it, but not as a great service to them – that is important. Without making a great act of sacrifice and service, simply a nose needs to be wiped, so they wipe it. If you do too much service to the nose, the nose will fall off. There are people doing that sort of thing everywhere. If it needs to be wiped, it is wiped, that is all; no big nonsense about it. If only the world was full of such people, definitely the world would be a worthwhile place in every way.
A volunteer is not doing something because he is trapped. He is simply willing. He does not think, “What is my desire?” He just sees what is needed. In that state, you are released. There is very little karma.
You must become an absolute volunteer in your life. Whatever you may be doing, whatever you may not be doing, your existence should be voluntary, not involuntary and compulsive. We need to generate such people all over the world.
Q: When people share their volunteering experiences, many of them say that it gives them a great sense of joy and fulfilment. Can you elaborate on this?
Sadhguru: Without being useful to anyone in the world, I can still be blissful. But most people are not made that way. They need to do something. Otherwise, they feel lost and useless. They are incapable of remaining joyful and blissful if they don’t have the possibility of performing action as an expression of who they are, not seeking something out of the action. So as a part of the spiritual process, we are offering the opportunity to do something where the action is not about you, it is just about doing what is needed around you as an expression of your joyfulness, not in pursuit of your happiness, not as a way of buying a ticket to heaven or anything. Just doing something that is needed – not bothering about what happens out of it. This clears the way for a spiritual process also.
I have seen so many people, when they come to programs like Bhava Spandana, they are not able to give themselves totally. But later, when they come as a volunteer, when they really give themselves, their experience soars. In the program itself, they did not experience much. But when they came to volunteer, the whole dimension of their experience changed.
So we are constantly looking to create possibilities of putting the spiritual dimension within people into action, so that it can translate into reality for other people to enjoy too.
Editor’s Note: Interested in becoming a volunteer from your home, in your city, or at one of Isha’s centers? Find out more about volunteering.
A version of this article was originally published in Isha Forest Flower December 2007.