“Life has no goal, it is a beautiful happening.”~Paramahamsa Nithyanada
According to Sikhi Wiki Encyclopedia of the Sikhs, Seva also Sewa, short for the word Karseva refers to ‘selfless service’, work or service performed without any thought or reward or personal benefit.
Seva is a Sanskrit word referring to volunteer work; selfless service or work offered to God.
Seva is a beautiful spiritual discipline that awakens us to the deeper truth of our beings.
It’s not about what we are doing; it’s about how we are doing it. What is our state of being as we are performing the service? What is our attitude? When we perform duties without any ideas of selfish rewards but as a contribution to the greater whole we automatically fall into a space on non-detachment. Krishna says in the Bhagavagita when our thoughts are only on ourselves, this creates bondage and this kind of attachment generates obstacles in our life. When there is attachment then there is suffering. Performing selfless acts is a way of achieving peace and harmony within ones life.
There are many benefits while practicing seva, the healing of others, our environment and ultimately us as we come to a deeper spiritual understanding.
When first presented with the project of seva I did not feel resistance towards the seva itself but resistance towards myself. I was able to recognize immediately that it was causing an internal tsunami. I had 2 choices; I could either resist it (which really I would be resisting myself) or dive in and work through my garbage. Seva has given me an opportunity to breakthrough all my stubborn little samskaras like procrastination, self-limitation and lack of self-confidence. As I sat down to do my task I found myself irresistible tempted by distractions. All the sudden I think I am hungry, thirsty or even the greatest escape trick I have to run to the bathroom. Everything else seemed more important than what I really needed to do. I realized I was doing the same thing I would do when I was in kid in school trying to do my homework. I would postpone, distract and delay as much as possible. As I was observing this I also noticed these self-defeating thoughts arising. Were they mine or were they voices of teachers, parents or society at large?
The real shift for me occurred when I decided to dedicate my seva to my guru Paramahasa Nithyanada then everything changed. My perception immediately changed and I felt a deep desire to make a difference plus I had the energy to fulfill it. The best thing I can suggest to someone who is struggling with this is to dedicate you seva to something higher than yourself. It does not have to be a guru, it could be a deity, someone you love, your cat even, heck it doesn’t matter! What this immediately does is remove ‘you’ from the equation. It’s as if instantly the biggest obstacle is removed and that is yourself. The strange that happens is when you dedicate your service to someone or something else ultimately you are offering yourself the best gift of transformation. Doing such devotional service can literally elevate you being to higher dimensions. Seva is one of those things where you are giving and receiving simultaneously which can bring fulfillment. When we are completely unattached to our actions our mind automatically falls into the state of Nithyananda (eternal bliss), which is the essence of yoga. Then the magic starts to flow!
It’s like yoga asanas. In the beginning there is so much pain and resistance going on but if I just stay focused and centered knowing that it is for my own good I will eventually breakthrough. When doing my seva it is the same uncomfortable feeling but when I look back at my yoga practice when I just stayed diligent and did it despite my negative chatter I eventually was able to perform a much difficult asana much to my surprise. In the same way I am breaking through all my limited beliefs about myself. There is no tomorrow, I will not feel more inspired later, I have been given this opportunity to breakthrough now so utilize this beautiful gift! Don’t miss this opportunity to merge with the Divine.
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you feel yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Suddenly, dormant forces, faculties and talents within you become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person that you ever dreamed yourself to be” ~Patanjali