"The shadow side of service often has to do with wanting to 'fix' a person or an issue. We want to feel more powerful, in control, be the expert, or play God. Here we're walking the fine line between compassion and condescension. At the heart of this is the illusion that we are different or separate from those we serve. Whether we are activists, managers, therapists, or parents, if our contribution is fueled by this insidious illusion, little genuine caring will take place and we will fail to receive the joy and fulfillment of conscious service.

"Other common shadows include becoming a service workaholic, using your addiction to service as an excuse not to examine your own feelings and your own need for balance. Or giving into cynicism and despair — belief that the world is going to the dogs and that nothing can be done about it. You go through the motions, all the while feeling nothing you do really makes a difference. Other times our service is distorted by our rage and self-righteousness: 'I know the way, and if you don't join my side you're wrong.' "