....selfless service. It is a Sanskrit word meaning “work or service performed without any thought of reward or personal benefit." That's crazy talk, thinking more about someone else's needs over my own? How is that going to make me happy? This way of thinking is totally different that how we have been brought up to think. What's in it for me, what do I get out of it. We get so caught up in ourselves that we forget to look around us, to see who needs help, who is suffering. It is believed to practice seva is the true path to happiness.
I was reminded of this today as I ran a errand. Every Sunday at noon, downtown New Baltimore allows us to teach yoga in the park. It is a free class and we have lots of fun and practicing yoga among nature adds a wonderful element to it. Last year my friend Sharon suggested that even though the class is free, we ask if the students would be willing to donate non-perishable food items for St. Mary's food pantry. An idea was born and the students have risen to the task, which brings me back to today. The trunk of my little Ford Fusion was full of food which meant it was time to drop it off at the food pantry. When I have gone there in the past, only the volunteers have been there to collect the food. Today was different. I walked into the small lobby and it was packed with moms, dads, kids, waiting their turn to receive food.
To be honest, I didn't know where to look, whether or not to make eye contact with anyone. It caught me off guard. Imagine not being able to feed your kids and having to ask for help. I knew that this food was going to help others, but to be witness to them, to see them, wow...wow.
I am not a spring chicken, this is not my first rodeo folks, I have experienced and seen suffering, but today reinforced that fact that I am blessed to have what and who I have in my life and I take none of that for granted. And neither should anyone else.
Going to the food pantry today made me feel good not in a superior way, but in a seva kind of way. It made me happy to have helped. See, it does work. This life isn't just all about us. My teacher, Michael Johnson, used to tell us "if you want a cookie you first must make sure someone else have a cookie".
Check out this video if you need a little more convincing to try and practice seva...and just breathe. Click here