Seva: The Art of Selfless Service
Where everything else writes the contract, action signs on the dotted line or walks the other way. What do your actions say about you?
“Seva” is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service” or work performed without any thought of reward or repayment. In ancient India seva was believed to help one’s spiritual growth and at the same time contribute to the improvement of a community. This is the art of giving with no need to receive, where the act itself is a gift to everyone involved. Seva is the art of blessed action.
Ram Dass explains this beautifully: “Helping out is not some special skill. It is not the domain of rare individuals. It is not confined to a single part of our lives. We simply heed the call of that natural impulse within and follow it where it leads us.”
Despite our seemingly unlimited capacity to connect, it's very easy to feel limited in a world of dynamic change. Asking questions like "Can I really make a difference?" or "How am I supposed to help?" only serve to delay or avoid action. With Seva, the only answer you need is YES.
Yes, I can help. Yes, I will do this. Yes, this is possible.
Efforts need not be global. It is virtually impossible to change the world in one fell swoop. Focus on the community around you, the village in which you live, the partnerships you've created, and the lives of those you're able to touch.
It can be as easy as paying the toll for the person behind you or shooting off a nice email to someone you haven't spoken to in years. Stay anonymous. Give openly. As you become more comfortable with giving with no need for reward, you can expand the reach of your actions.
Small steps lead to great change. Seva is the karmic life preserver that keeps your spiritual head above water by helping others stay afloat. Please enjoy, in joy, the act of selfless action and all the wonderful energy that surrounds it.
Daniel Scott is trained as an E-RYT 500 Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher and a Certified Level 2 AcroYoga (AYI) instructor. He has spent over 15 years taking and teaching dozens of styles and methodologies of yoga.