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The Strong Must Be Made Stronger

The convergence of our inner journey
with our outer one leads to the discovery of
our soul’s unique destiny. Gradually, we develop
inner strength and move from being self-centered
to being centered on humanity.

~ Susan S. Trout, Born to Serve ~


With inner strength, we can choose to participate in and to be blessed by the evolution of a soul-inspired life in the Aquarian Era.

Years ago, I had a dream during which these words were chanted: “the strong must be made stronger.” At the time, I viewed the chant as a statement of the Institute’s mission to support those seeking personal growth and spiritual development. Recently, I discovered that the chant has an even higher purpose – to address our grief and fear concerning today’s unpredictable and tumultuous world and to seek inner strength by connecting to the Sacred Within.

Many of us view ourselves as strong, yet are aware of the presence of niggling concerns that lie just beneath our level of awareness. We fear we may lack the inner strength necessary to weather the multiple looming uncertainties currently brewing on Planet Earth. These include global warming, wars between nations, financial uncertainty, misused technology, and terrorism, among others. Our grief is overwhelming as we learn about the disregard of the wellbeing and safety of sentient beings and the brutal treatment and killing of so many. We wonder if we will be strong enough during the unpredictable transition from the 3rd and 4th dimensions of the Piscean Era into the 5th dimension of the Aquarian Era. We question whether we will be the ones who can help others during this transition or if we will find ourselves among those needing help.

Regardless of how we experience our inner strength, we are wise to take an honest, non- judgmental look at what we think, feel, and do that weakens our inner strength, and what we think, feel, and do that strengthens it. For example, do we strive to live a life of ease, looking for instant gratification, making excuses, escaping into endless distractions, or engaging in complaining, blaming, and condemning? Or do we strive to practice self-responsibility for our thoughts and reactions, engage in spiritual growth, and tend to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health?  Are we committed to becoming stronger and, if so, what supports this happening?

flower from asphalt   canstockphoto43603727

Nurturing Inner Strength = Being Made Stronger

The Ten Universal Tributes and their Tenets are inspired teachings that serve as a guide for ensuring that the strong will be made stronger – if they are taken to heart and practiced regularly. An inherent aspect of the Institute’s foundational teachings found in The Soul and Service Trilogy, the Tributes address the source of our inner strength, the quality of our inner state, and the quality of our relationships with others.

Three of the Tribute’s major premises and practices – self-responsibility, soul alignment, and service – can, during this transformational time in human history, transform us if we wish to become stronger and serve others.


When we are self-responsible, we shift our thoughts, actions, and words to look within rather than without for wholeness.

  • With honesty and kindness, I take responsibility for my own choices and allow others to do the same. (Tribute 5)
  • The presence of patience, gentleness, and unconditional acceptance lessens resistance to change and growth. (Tribute 9, Tenet 7)


We have an obligation not only to love each other,
but also in our love to make ourselves as lovable
as possible so that it is easy for our sisters
and brothers to love us.

~ William of St. Thierry ~

Soul Alignment

When we align with our Soul, we are guided, taught, and protected throughout our lives so that we fulfill our life purpose.

  • I have been given a unique assignment by the Divine and, having accepted this function, I live my life with integrity, commitment, and gratitude. (Tribute Two, Tenet 2)
  • To be inspired is to put the Divine first in my life, thereby aligning my will with Divine Will and fulfilling my assigned life purpose and mission. (Tribute Two, Tenet 4)


Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.

~ Maya Angelou ~


When we are of service, we offer the right thing in the right way at the right time for the right reason and in the right amount.

  • I am unconsciously giving and receiving all the time; the more conscious I am of the level on which I give and receive, the more helpful my giving and receiving is to the wellbeing of myself and others.  (Tribute 7, Tenet 6)
  • Divine Will works through me as me when I have no attachment to the form of the task and no expectations of outcome. (Tribute 3)


Be mindful when you have an opportunity
to show another way.

~ Source Unknown ~

A Clarion Call to Making Ourselves Stronger

At this time on Planet Earth, we can choose whether or not to hear the clarion call to be made stronger and help others do the same. We are called to make a choice between the old and the new, between what was and what will be. We are called to practice cooperation and to live as one global family. We are called to slow down in order to recognize and benefit from synchronistic events. Synchronicity, or the flow of unexpected events, guides us, awakens us, alerts us, and shows us how to develop and sustain inner strength. We can call on the wisdom of the Universe to help us deepen our collective understanding of what is destined to emerge in the world.

With inner strength, we can choose to participate in and to be blessed by the evolution of a soul-inspired life in the Aquarian Era. Indeed, when we choose to live a soul-inspired life – when we choose to live life completely and well – we are gradually made stronger and move from being centered on ourselves to being centered on humanity.


As a daily practice, find a specific example in your life
of how a particular Tribute or Tenet supported you making yourself stronger.


Reference: Susan S. Trout, PhD, Born to Serve: The Evolution of the Soul Through Service. Alexandria, VA: Three Roses Press, ©1997. The Clarion Call: Leadership and Group Life in the Aquarian Era. Alexandria, VA: Three Roses Press, ©2009.

Photo attribution: © Can Stock Photo / ipopba (flower); kavita (woman)

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A Three-Month Course


  • Based on Susan Trout’s classic book, Born to Serve: The Evolution of the Soul Through Service, this course invites students to plunge into exploring service as a way to live in harmony with their soul’s true nature, thereby becoming free from the entanglements of the personality and experiencing the inner joy of putting their spirituality into action in the world.

  • This course offers extensive, one-on-one interaction with a faculty member carefully matched to the needs and personality of the student, including regular phone meetings and additional email support.


To support you in your experience of service as an expression of your soul’s evolution, and to integrate your knowledge and experience of the soul-service connection by strengthening your awareness of the relationship between your motives for serving and the quality of your service.


  1. To experience service as an equal partnership between the server and the served; this partnership supports the emergence of each other’s higher potential into a joint masterpiece
  2. To experience service as a fulfilling and joyful presence in your soul’s journey
  3. To practice the dynamic relationship between your inner work and your service
  4. To acquire practical psychological and spiritual tools that support both the server and the served

The goal of all service is simply to bring out what is already there, to unveil the soul, to support the emergence of each other’s higher potential into a joint masterpiece.

~ Susan S. Trout, PhD Born to Serve


Are you experiencing overwhelm, exhaustion, or a lack of joy in your service? Are you disillusioned that your service is not having the result you wish it would have? Do you see your service as a way to give but not to receive? Are you searching for a spiritual approach to your service? Do you view serving others as a way to find meaning and purpose in your life?

Ask yourself if now is the time to devote yourself to beginning (or deepening) your spiritual journey of service while keeping in mind the needs of today’s changing world. As a universal and cohesive philosophical framework, the Born to Serve course focuses on these topics:  service as the masterpiece of the soul, the nature of service, service and the evolution of the soul, the dimensions of service, the shadow of service, and the soul’s seven evolutionary stages of service. The course also supports understanding the soul’s evolution of service by practicing the Ten Universal Tributes. The framework of the Ten Universal Tributes is a way to learn how to unify personal healing and service.

For optimal use of the course material, you are asked to be willing to acknowledge unrealized potential in yourself and to recognize projection, denial, and neglect in your own and others’ service. When you know that a reservoir of creativity and psychological and spiritual strength lies hidden within you, you can safely commit to improving the quality of your inner state and thus the quality of your service.  You can experience service as a joyful presence in your life.

The Born to Serve course consists of twelve weeks of study.  You will work with one lesson per week. The course allows time to work with the material and integrate its teaching at a gradual pace. As part of making your decision to enroll, carefully read course requirements and time commitments listed below. 

Topics Covered

  • The Michelangelo metaphor of service as the masterpiece of the soul
  • The nature of the soul and its relationship to service
  • The soul’s unfoldment
  • Evolutionary shifts of consciousness for the 21st century
  • The dimensions of service
  • The prevalent shadow motivations for service and selected shadow-work exercises
  • The seven evolutionary stages of service
  • The Ten Universal Tributes and their Tenets
  • Psychological and spiritual support tools for the server


  • Read portions of Born to Serve by Susan S. Trout, PhD
  • Follow the designated study steps and complete reading and worksheet assignments
  • Spend approximately seven hours a week (about an hour a day) on each lessons
  • Apply material in personal and work (service) life
  • Work daily with the week’s assigned Universal Tribute and Tenets
  • Discuss completed assignments and handouts in phone calls with your assigned faculty member, plus additional contact by email as needed
  • Complete the Terms and Agreements Form when registering for the course.  Note that the course cannot be extended past the original three-month period.


  • Contact the Institute for the Advancement of Service by calling 703-706-5333 OR sending an email to for information about enrolling in this course.

Whether service is practiced as duty, charity, purification, or devotion, the call to service expresses the desire to love through action…we discover service as life rather than as something we do in life; we discover that everything we do is service
~ Susan S. Trout, PhD Born to Serve

Course Tuition: $400

Fee Policy: Course must be paid in full at time of registration.  Full refund is awarded if student withdraws within three days; the course fee is nonrefundable after three days.

Text: You will need to purchase your own copy of Born to ServePurchasing a Universal Tribute Card Set is optional.

Reference: Susan S. Trout, PhD, Born to Serve: The Evolution of the Soul Through Service. Alexandria, VA: Three Roses Press, ©1997.

Disclaimer: The Institute for the Advancement of Service does not provide medical or mental health care.  As such, our courses are not intended to be psychotherapy, medical therapy, or a substitute for either one.  Participants are required to assume self-responsibility for their wellbeing by seeking, when appropriate, psychological and medical professional care.

Evolving Our Soul to Full Expression

Looking within to discover the obstacles to the awareness of our true nature, we can experience the soul coming to full expression through the personality.

Humans are complex.  We have many interacting layers and component parts.  In addition to our personalities, we have a soul.  Our soul and personality are in communication to varying degrees as we move about in our daily life.  Over time, our personality moves towards integration and our soul evolves to full expression.

The arena for soul development is our daily life.  Daily experiences offer opportunities to learn and open to the Divine.

    The journey of soul development requires that we dissolve our obstacles to personal growth as we engage with the world. As we understand our motivations and personality tendencies, obstacles are exposed.  In the later stages of soul development, people are willing to learn how to work with the obstacles, thereby using life as a classroom with unlimited opportunities to heal and be healed.  This process is referred to as inner work. Through our willingness to look within and discover the obstacles to the awareness of our true nature through inner work, we can experience the soul coming to full expression through the personality.

    The first step of soul development is to observe our behavior with awareness.  Awareness itself initiates some change in the personality.  With awareness, we start noticing:

    • our reactions, attachments, and tendencies in relating to the world;
    • synchronicities – that is, the apparent coincidences of events, meetings, and gifts;
    • that there is an exchange of receiving and giving in life: as we learn wisdom, we give it away;
    • the urge to making a difference in the world with compassion; and
    • the consequences of our thoughts, speech, and behavior.

    The arena for soul development is our daily life.  Daily experiences offer opportunities to learn and open to the Divine.  When a particular experience presents itself we can ask: How do my thoughts, motivations, and behavior help or hinder how I relate to this person or situation?  Looking inward, we notice our intentions and motives in various situations.  We start to observe our attractions and reactions to our environment.  We realize what we believe and the depth of those beliefs.  We develop congruence between our inner motives and outer actions using the Universal Tributes, ten principles which provide a spiritual road map for attaining self-transformation through service.

    Considerable energy is needed to do the necessary inner work to bring about soul development.  Therefore, it is important to take the time to focus inward to review one’s life events, explore options, question beliefs, and allow the healing process to unfold.  Through this life-long process, we commit to wholeness – to the integration of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual parts of the self.

    Reference: Susan S. Trout, PhD, Born to Serve: The Evolution of the Soul Through Service. Alexandria, VA: Three Roses Press, ©1997.

    Copyright © Susan S. Trout, June 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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