Service can feel like a huge production when we think it has to look a certain way. When it becomes a behavior that we do because we think we have to in order to be a good person, the essence of service is lost.
Seva, or service, in Sanskrit refers to an act of selfless service which is performed with no expectation of gain or return.
Read: you get nothing back! You simply give this energy to the collective.
Seva doesn’t mean volunteering for 1 week a year, snapping a bunch of pictures for Facebook and putting this experience on a resume to get a certain job.
Seva is a way of showing up each day, every moment. It is a frequency that you vibrate. And when you act from a vibration of seva, these behaviors no longer feel like service. They become an effortless way of moving through the world.
Buy a friend coffee. Not so you can feel good about yourself but because you love your friend. Hold the door for a stranger. Not to brag about being a nice person but because it warms your heart. Pause for a moment of gratitude. Not to ask for more in your life but because you appreciate what you have. Wish everyday for all beings to experience freedom from suffering, “lokah samasta sukhino bhavantu”. Not because you don’t want to suffer but because you have the power to heal others with your thoughts. Say a prayer at night. Not because it’s an obligation but because you have a deep reverence for the power of prayer. Smile at the woman who serves your lunch. Not because you feel bad for her but because you see God (read: source, nature, consciousness) in her eyes. Go out of your way to return a lost credit card. Not because you believe it will better your karma but because you know what it feels like to lose a credit card and it brings you joy to heal the worry of another.
True service comes from the heart, not the mind.
Real service is being done when no one knows what you’re up to. There are no bragging rights, no rewards and no personal benefits.
Beyond all these small acts of service, the biggest thing you can do to serve this world is doing the work. Your work!
Devote yourself to yourself. Take the time to heal your wounds, dedicate yourself to a practice, break down your walls, invite in love and raise your deserving power. Never take credit for your own light, rather become so clear that divine light radiates through you. Healing yourself is the first step to healing the world. Self-care, and service to self, is the greatest service you can do for the world.
When change happens on an individual level, we change the world. Align with your dharma.
What are your unique gifts? What lights up your soul?
What is your part in elevating the collective experience?
This is the most important thing for you discover and, from this place, your unique form of service will effortlessly emerge.
Never lose sight of this in exchange for doing something that “feels” like service. Never step into a serving role just to say you “serve”.
Align with your highest self- through asana, meditation, pranayama, chanting, and whatever other spiritual practices light up your soul- and invite seva to be your mode of operation.