Seva – The Yoga Of Service
According to ancient Indian Sanskrit teachings, serving others selflessly is considered an essential devotional practice equal to directly serving God, and is believed to enhance one’s spiritual growth. “Seva” is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service,” or work performed without any thought of reward or repayment. Service is an important part of every spiritual tradition — including the path of Yoga.
Acts of Service
There are unlimited ways in which we can practice this essential practice of the yogic path. Seva can be as simple as helping an older person across a busy intersection, or offering to prepare a meal for a friend or loved one who isn’t feeling well. It can comprise the spreading of social awareness concerning an issue that serves others, or that works to preserve the natural resources we all use. Some people start nonprofit organizations with humanitarian goals; others volunteer to represent such organizations as the ‘feet on the ground’ in distantly remote reaches of our planet. Still others — perhaps not inspired to start their own movement or to venture to faraway lands where people often need help the most — serve by contributing monetarily to support a chosen organization’s goals. Whether you are managing a humanitarian organization, on the front lines in a third-world country, serving in a soup line or financially supporting organizations that help others, you are performing seva by caring for others without any thought of repayment of personal gain.
Hidden Benefits of Serving Others
There is scientific proof that the surest way out of a bad mood is to do something for another. Acts of service shift our attention away from ourselves and direct it towards the performance of an emotionally rewarding act. Whether you are interested in integrating seva into your spiritual practice, or just feel a natural urge to be of service to others, your life will be enriched by every selfless act.
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