The teaching of Seva has been bittersweet, as my 7 months of practicing in a contained space has now come to an end. Seva is the sanskrit word for selfless service, a practice of not attaching to the results or outcome of actions. There are many ways to try to understand what it means to be in a state of service.
“Ego is the biggest disease and is also the biggest solution. If you can divert your ego and use your ego so that, ‘I have to become a forklift and I am to lift everybody; whatever comes my way, I’ll keep up to uplift people.’ That is seva. That is service. That will give you perpetual friendship, perpetual relationships, dignity, integrity, opportunity, wealth, prosperity, you name it.” -Yogi Bhajan
To be of service for the collective people living on this planet can be a rapidly expansive process, as it will teach lessons on every level. Recognizing ego and being able to use this identification of false self to be of service for all is not as simple as it may sound. The truth is that the process I has experienced was bittersweet looking back; while in the process, things looked a lot different.
I was told in beautiful words one day, “the hurricane causes a whole lot of chaos, things get thrown around, lives get damaged and life becomes messy. The storm is a powerful piece of our nature; while at the center of the storm, all is peaceful and the sky is clear. If we remain centered in our truth and experience. We become the eye, looking at the chaos with a peaceful presence.”
Karma yoga is like an invitation to become present and aware within our actions. Our actions, past, present and future are contributing to this “hurricane.” The practice we create in karma yoga is more about just showing up to serve whatever it is that it is needed at any given time. It is beyond challenging if the ego is strong and ruling our actions. Our mind’s nature will find and create infinite excuses or problems with any given situations that unfold in our day to day life. The importance within our practice is held in our intentions; the stay grounded and centered, while clearly experiencing the storm. The storm will continue to evoke us to react, this can become us getting lost the storm. Rather then acting, we can invite our ears to listen to the changing winds and trust the sound of our inner guidance.
The storm is our ego and all the misunderstandings of this life, from the limited view we know. The wind is the power of the heart, the heart’s energy can be felt and heard while it can’t be directly seen. A beautiful metaphor of the power of an authentic connection. This type of heart centered practice cultivates acceptance for the past winds of troubles; the pains that rained down over life which brings out all the belongings that we thought we owned. Cultivating the heart space to be as light as a feather, this power allows us to let go of the weight we have carried from of our past actions.
As I left Islamorada right after Irma hit, the storm metaphor resonates with my experience of leaving and discovering my messy storm of a human. I couldn’t run away from her so easily. There were different levels of my being that were met as the process; which was like meeting pieces of myself, letting them shed away. There were times it felt like grieving. It was like a process of being recycled for the benefit of all, as an act of service. The clear sense of purpose, self and life became present. Any act done from the heart is an act of service. The misunderstanding of this revolves around our intentions. Any form of practice can be done with an intention of serving or offering the fruits of the practice beyond our personal self.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu