Service means a giving of yourself to others for the purpose of helping their purpose and goals. The mere fact you are giving yourself immediately enables you to traverse the “me” barrier.
One hopes humans have the ability to determine if the service is for a worthy cause. In this regard there are bad purposes and ambitions you can give service to and increase human suffering. Determining if you are offering service to a “good cause” involves a value judgement not all individuals can readily make. Like if you are offering your services to the anti-abortion movement is this a good cause? What moral code can we adhere to determine the validity and decency of our service? We are at the mercy of reliance on individuals to assess what is good service. Quite frankly beyond me mindfulness characteristics may often be used for evil so at the end of the day you have to decide if your service is for promoting suffering for humanity or reducing it.
In simplistic terms you are making someone’s life better. In the easily recognizable forms it is giving someone or organization your time as a community service. It can be volunteering as a hockey coach, sorting food at a community foodbank or volunteering at a charitable organization.
Your giving of time to third parties shows you are interested in more than yourself. This giving has the ability to make you happier as you feel better about yourself. I can only hope it is a genuine act of your heart and not simply a sense of duty. As Martin Luther King stated, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
As Alison Murdoch and Deyki-Lee Oldershaw say in their “16 Guidelines For Life”, ‘The people who serve most deeply and sincerely seem to be those who can expose themselves the most fully to another person’s needs and problems. It can be painful and difficult to open up to the suffering of someone else. Our minds recoil, seeking a more pleasurable focus of attention. Yet if we can stay open and aware, we may find the answer for many of our own needs and dilemma.’