Seva: Healing Through Giving (Part II)
In part 1 of the Luminous Soul Seva Series, I spoke about how you can engage seva in a variety of short ways. I shared how you can work with this Luminous Soul Pillar of seva in your daily life through quick connects or medium connects.
But what about when you feel called to perform seva in a more substantial way? How can you work with this calling and what value will it have in your yogic practice and your life?
Working with Substantial Connects
After you have practiced some quick daily connects and some medium connects you are ready to try the substantial connect. This is where you definitely need to listen in as you connect with things and people that mean a great deal to you. You are not moving into savior mode, but you are listening and feeling and becoming conscious of your feeling. When you notice a need or a difficulty energize on how you can offer support. An example of this would be when you feel drawn to do something for someone on an on-going basis or when you feel drawn to give to charities that are working to support people and causes that you believe in.
I’ll give you recent example of a “substantial connect” in my life. When my mother was ill with cancer, I was given the opportunity to see what serious illness looked like for a human being. It occurred to me after she passed what would this journey have been like for others who may not have a large support network. Following up on this feeling that stayed with me. I decided to research some charities and found a few, which I liked very much (chemo-comfort & chemo angels).
I sat with it and decided to make the commitment to offer to be an angel to someone who needed one. I made this offering in my mother’s name. For two years, each week, I sent small gifts along with a “Chatty Cathy” letter about the joyful happenings of my life to a woman named Annie. I was instructed to send her a letter that was uplifting and kind. When I sat with it I realized the idea was perfect.
The only obstacle was that my schedule was packed. To do this well, it would require that I consciously make a commitment to perform this as a weekly seva. I set up all the logistics and asked my assistant to add it to my daily list.
In one of her letters to me, Annie said she that so looked forward to my letters that the postman already knew my name. I can only say that this note from this very sick woman was now becoming my friend was incredibly meaningful to my soul. What developed between us was a loving connection. This channel of love brought me great joy. It was a great gift to us both. Our mutual sharing gave me the opportunity to make the offering. And to this day, I am left with the feeling that it was my privilege.
What Seva Isn’t, What it Is
So, you see, it’s not meant that you sell the farm or go beyond your capacity. Or give away large sums of money, though if you are in a position to do so or are drawn to give generously to a cause that is lovely. Just remember in the Luminous Soul Method seva is not a practice of running from your Self and avoiding being with you. Not at all. Instead, it is a practice of being so grounded in you, so with you that you have the real strength to give beyond your own personal self.
At its core seva is a practice of being less selfish, less personally focused and more attentive to the reality that we are all one. In this way, seva is a kind of training for experiencing oneness.
This week, consider the Luminous Soul Pillar of Seva. Think of your sevik actions like a yama (yogic restraint). Withdraw from being focused on your self, alone and practice making an offering to God, the intelligent light, and in honor of elevating the world at large.
If you find yourself experiencing a disconnect between your studies and their practice in your life, you may simply be in need of deeper understanding.