SERVICE:
A PATHWAY TO THE SOUL
By Beverly Danziger

 

 

Eighteen years ago, a group of service-minded people set out to test, in real life, a theory that has been expressed in great writings throughout the ages. The theory holds that if people would truly and consistently serve others, aspects of their soul life would be revealed and demonstrated and their lives would be transformed. They would:
•    discover profound inner goodness in themselves and others;
•    discover skills, talents and energy they never knew they had;
•    stay positive and productive, no matter what the circumstances;
•    discover true meaning and purpose in life.

The theory also says that selfless service is contagious, so that those served, and others who witness their service, would eventually and joyfully “pass it on” in an ever-spreading ripple effect.  
What was discovered is that the theory holds true; these things really happen and lives ARE transformed. From inaugural service projects — care for the terminally ill; respite care for developmentally-disabled children; conflict resolution; health and wellness programs — a dynamic organization renowned for training World Servers has evolved.

It is the Human Service Alliance and the Institute for Purposeful Living (HSA/IfPL) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (The Institute for Purposeful Living was formerly known as the University for the Study of Human Goodness –UfHG.)

HSA/IfPL is an innovative, all-volunteer, non-profit organization focused on service education and training for individuals and groups from all over the world. As a non-religious organization, its programs have been created to be inclusive of all cultural and spiritual beliefs. It has received numerous awards for its contributions to service, including the Presidential Point of Light award and the Institute for Noetic Science’s Temple Award for Creative Altruism.

One of the Institute’s programs is Soul-Centered Education (SCE), a year-long service-learning program designed for students of all ages who are seeking a life of meaning and who want to make a difference in the world. Through classes and hands-on service, students gain clarity about their life’s purpose and are offered tools to achieve this purpose successfully.

They learn how to stay positive and handle life’s challenges productively and effectively; enhance leadership skills; gain the entrepreneurial ability to incubate an idea and carry it forward successfully; get more in touch with and demonstrate their soul; work creatively and effectively as part of a group; develop effective communication and time and financial-management skills; and many other lifelong tools.
Here is what some of its graduates have to say about the SCE program:

In his graduation address, David John DeYoung, a 35-year-old master carpenter, described it as “building a house for the soul,” and its impact on him as “a life remodeled.” “We have built a solid foundation for our house based on the soulful principles taught in the four IfPL classes: Practical Spirituality, Service Entrepreneurship, Personal Accountability and Science of the Soul,” he said. “In addition, the hands-on-service projects provide great opportunities to put into practice these teachings and thus build a soulful foundation for further work. The Institute’s faculty helps us see illusions about ourselves and work to move beyond any self-imposed limitations. As graduates of this program, we are equipped to constantly renovate this House for the Soul and thus continue to expand our capacity to serve. For on the path, our lives are constantly changing, and the remodeling never ends.”

Another graduate, 71-year-old Marilyn Ross, expressed a similar view. “During my year at the Institute my life was transformed,” she said in her graduation talk. “My body has never felt better, nor have I ever had more enthusiasm for life. I stopped quoting Gary Zukov and started living spiritual truths. Almost without trying, I have found purpose through both small and large acts of service.”

After going through the program, Eric Patterson now sees life as a laboratory. He recalls how he was once ruffled by daily tension and change. “Now, I welcome change,” he says. “It has become a game to see how flexible I can be. When things seem crazy, I draw on the incredible confidence attained at the Institute by taking on new tasks and accomplishing more than I previously thought I could. My experience was both challenging and rewarding. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked and studied with so many diverse and yet like-minded people, and to have realized my potential to contribute to the world, in real and practical ways.”
Perhaps the work of the Institute can been summarized best by the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “The thing which counts is the striving of the human soul to achieve spiritually the best that it is capable of and to care unselfishly not only for personal good, but for the good of all those who toil with them upon the earth.”
If you are ready to take the next big step in life and become World Servers, IfPL may be the place for you. All students who are accepted into IfPL’s programs receive full scholarships, including room and board for the entire year.

HSA/IfPL hosts four “Come and See Preview Weekends” a year and invites everyone to experience the Institute first-hand. For additional information about IfHG, please visit its website: www.ufhg.org, call (336) 761-8745 or you may send an e-mail to inquiry@ufhg.org  .


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