Service Forum, Northeast Region
About 50 Sai Center members from the Northeast Region participated in the first ever Regional Service Forum on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Coordinated by the Albany Sai Center, the forum was held at the Halfmoon Town Hall with the theme “Service for Self-Transformation”. The goal of the forum was to help participants explore the deeper significance of service and how it can transform us.
Alex Grana, the USA National Service Coordinator discussed how selfless service can be a tool for experiencing the Divine Principle of Love, emphasizing that the motive behind service is very important. He also stated that “the feeling of oneness” with all should be the underlying principle if service is to lead to self-transformation. IHe noted that it was vital to give up a sense of “ownership” and “doer-ship”. Service could also be a vehicle for community transformation by promoting harmony and unity via public outreach activities like Walk for Values and interfaith activities.
Participants also were honored by the presence of the first USA National Service Coordinator and past Zone 1 Chair, Dr. David Gries. Brother Gries, the author of the official service guidelines, shared his deep understanding and wealth of experiences with service. The speakers’ sessions were followed by engaging workshops in which attendees participated enthusiastically in discussions on service, presented various service scenarios and discussed how to tackle challenges. They also shared service projects taking place throughout the region via a service exhibition.
Attendees also had the opportunity to share their individual service experiences and personal reflections on their own self-transformation. In addition, there were service sessions on Save the Planet initiatives, Medical Service and Disaster Relief. A Question and Answer Panel session followed. Through these intense discussions, attendees were reminded of obstacles to selfless service such as ego and attachment along with the sense of doer-ship and enjoyer-ship. Tips were shared on how these hurdles can be overcome by carrying out service in a pure, selfless manner.
At the end of the day, those attending were reinvigorated with a sense of the vital role of selfless service in their spiritual progress and took away many tools to accomplish that goal. Many left the Forum with a deeper awareness of service and excited to share what they had learned with their fellow Center members!