Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Say Vuh?

SEVA is an integral part of the practice of yoga— right alongside the physical poses (asana) that the West actually calls "yoga."

The word means "selfless service" in sanskrit.

In theory the concept is very nice, and yet in the Western world the idea of selflessly serving is a bit like bowing. It can make our well-developed egos feel a little lowly and degraded.

I mean, how many times have you felt comfortable helping someone when they didn't thank you? Or giving someone something without them knowing YOU gave it to them?

In our culture, we'd be more likely call this type of activity fuel-for-resentment, thankless-tasks, or no-thanks-I-have-to-stay-home-and-wash-my-hair.

In India, they glorify it.

Say vuh? 

In a sense, needing a "thank you," or a look of gratitude, or a big hug is a sort of payment for services rendered. Psychologically, our ego can justify a good deed if it gets paid even in the most abstract currency. And it feels less degraded and used. Yet, that is not seva.

When we give to someone, help someone, love someone without the need of "payment" in the form of a feedback loop, we are trusting that the Universe will take care of us. We are not placing that huge responsibility in the hands of another person.

It is a very peaceful feeling to know that we have enough (nay, an abundance) to give, that we can never run out.

Safe huh?

SEVA can start to be a sort of meditation. Indeed, just like using mantra, or breath control, when we do seva, we train the mind (and our ego) to recognize that selfless service is its own reward. We can feel an accomplishment, an inner-gratitude, an inner "thank you" from the act of doing something that needs to be done.

We must realize that in every moment the most important person in the world is eternally grateful for our graceful actions and our loving thoughts—our own Self, which is the perfect image of God existing on Earth.

The Universe thanks us for our service with a big fat check that reads: INNER PEACE.

What could be better than that?

In peace and prosperity,

Monday, July 30, 2012

Making a Difference

The term "making a difference" has been popping up in my life recently. I know when I start noticing something like that—something I wouldn't have ordinarily payed much attention to—that it's time to write a blog about it.

To some, "making a difference" means doing something to save the planet and humanity. It could involve curing an epidemic, collecting signatures for an important cause, saving people from land mines, etc. This work demands sweat, toil, determination, and a strong intention to help. I'll call these types of people DOERS.

To others, "making a difference" means making a different kind of imprint on human life. It could include writing an inspiring novel, master-minding the next great invention, or creating the world's largest piece of blown glass. This work demands ingenuity, imagination, and (in my experience) divine inspiration. I'll call these people the CREATORS.

Being that I am a product of a liberal institution, I graduated with a shiny diploma and the idea that making a REAL difference happened by being a DOER. The idea was to work for a non-profit organization and do something that really helped people and the planet.

The problem was, I am not a born DOER. I have friends who are activists and we are made of different mettle or something. On that front, I'm just not your woman.

After I left school I felt very guilty for not taking an active part in saving the planet—for not being a DOER. I slowly started to realize that I could help in another way though.

I became a CREATOR. I found ways (like chanting, teaching yoga) to use my natural interests and talent to contribute to the planet in a more subtle way.

Am I saying teaching an African child to read is the same thing as singing a song? Of course not.

However, from a Universal perspective, I don't believe it's useful to compare our genuine human efforts in this way. When we do something from our heart it naturally makes a difference on this planet. The vibration of love emanates from a loving spoonful of warm food in a hungry belly just as strongly as it emanates from a recording of uplifting music. What we see as immediate effect is not necessarily the whole truth.

In my pursuit of gently justifying my personal path of creating over doing, I have stumbled upon what I believe to be the most important way anyone can "make a difference:" AWAKENING THEIR AUTHENTIC SELF.

Our authentic Self is the part of us that is beyond time, space, finances, judgements, attachments, duality, hatred, preference, etc. It is what we call our "Sat Naam." It exists, in varying degrees of transparency (or fogginess) in EVERYONE.

While seemingly self-indulgent, my experience leads me to the conclusion that awakening our dormant "Self" is the only thing that will make a real difference on this planet. And it's already happening in us. The beauty of wanting to "make a difference" is that anything we do with a full heart is working just as much on our own growth as it is on the person/thing we are doing/creating. So it's not really something we have to DO or CREATE, it's something that happens naturally when we DO or CREATE in an authentic way.

Hallelujah for that!

In consciousness and growth,
Have a beautiful day,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

So Small

Sometimes the veil is thick as fog
and God seems far away

Sometimes I can see forever

I cannot see that far today

Sometimes the prayer seems so small
and hope sinks in my mind

It feels wrong to feel so limited 
I have been beyond space and time

I have known
I still know

Something will lift if I let go

Something will lighten if I soften
Something will open if I listen
Something will shift when I stop watching

And I thank You
I thank You
I thank You 


I met Genevieve first as a client, then as a teacher, and now as a guest...  Cute example of the malleable roles we take on for one another,...

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