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Save Yourself Through Seva

Save Yourself Through Seva

by Aparna Khanolkar aparna khanolkar
Self Development | Personal Story


Have you ever felt so bummed that all you wanted to do was stay in bed and feel sorry for yourself? Maybe you've even indulged in it. By funk I mean, feeling blue, you've lost a job, your heart is broken, you are feeling scarcity, loneliness, hopelessness and unmotivated.

Don't endure your funk. Make adjustments and transform all the anguish. Find someone to serve. Do something magnificent for someone else. Seva is Sanskrit for selfless service. Seva will get you out of the pity party you are hosting for yourself. Seva is service you offer to another without any desire to get something out of it for yourself. But it has side effects that are positively beneficial for your state of being.

How do you offer Seva?

Simple. Pick a cause or a person who needs help. Next, serve them. Be sure to expect nothing in return. Whether it's making them a meal, lending an ear to someone who needs to share feelings or driving them for errands. Absorb yourself in helping this person. Share a meal with the person you have chosen to serve. Listen to their story. Truly feel the life in their expression. Ask sincere questions. Be earnest in your responses. Your compassion for the other is punctuated by a genuine desire to uplift them. This gives you a sense of oneness with the other and the funk evaporates.

Seva is not a substitute for dealing with your own problems. Your anguish or problems will still require your attention. However, when combined with Seva, it transforms your perception of your own situation. For instance, during my own difficult times I stumbled upon the idea of Seva while on my way to a client's home. I was so overcome by anguish about my divorce and fear of losing my children that I was unsure of how I was going to get through my workday. By the time I arrived at her house, I felt like an angel has spoken to me. "For now, don't worry about you. Focus all your attention on your client who is a new mother. Give her everything you have in your heart." I did just that. Three hours later, I felt renewed. I still had my problems, but the weight was lifted from serving another.

This wisdom has served me for all these years. Life goes on. Things get better and then they get worse. New visions are created. Old ones evaporate. There is life and death and life again. No matter how challenging a situation is, it works out. Instead of spinning in anxiety and worry, I've learned to cultivate trust. There are days when I stumble into the abyss of anxiety and worry. Seva is a spiritual practice I use to climb out of that abyss. When I perform Seva, I'm not looking for recognition or praise. Neither should you.

Lifting someone else out of their difficluties, inspiring them, making them smile, giving them hope, cooking them a meal or listening to them is a noble cause. Even if you don't think of yourself while you offer selfless service to another, you too will feel gratified and comforted. Watching them feel better will make you feel better. So, go out there. Serve someone, anyone. Acts of selfless service can include:

1. Cooking a healthy meal.
2. Making a dream come true, whether it is buying something to make life easier or giving them something you have.
3. Sitting in silence with another.
4. Letting them speak to you, without interrupting, without judgment.
5. Tithe to an organization/person or cause that is dear to you.
6. etc...

You can come up with your own creative ways to perform Seva. Whatever it is, someone out there will love it. And you will love it too. It serves the other and you. Go do it. Feel better immediately...It's philanthropy on the microcosm level.


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