by Lk Bookman
During the holiday season, we begin to consider ways to give back to those in need whether in our communities or around the globe. “Seva” is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service” or action/words to help another without any thought of reward or repayment. In India, it is believed to help one's spiritual growth and also contribute to the improvement of a community. Seva is a positive characteristic to cultivate and goes much beyond actual service. It is an attitude. When we interact in a spirit of seva , we think about what we can give in any situation rather than what we can gain from it.
Seva is especially important in this age of self-centeredness. We tend to rush from one place to the other, doing as much as we possibly can, oftentimes without regard for those around us. When we recognize how fortunate we truly are, we realize how important it is to give back. For when we are kind to others, whether at the market, driving on the road, interacting at the workplace or with friends and family, it not only brings us a sense of peace but also extends past our actions into the rest of the world, creating a doorway to pass on kindness.
Ram Dass explains this beautifully: “Helping out is not some special skill. It is not the domain of rare individuals. It is not confined to a single part of our lives. We simply heed the call of that natural impulse within and follow it where it leads us.”
Selfless service is not difficult and doesn't have to be some grand gesture. It is an attitude that can be cultivated when we live more mindfully. Being aware of where you are at any given moment, and how you act and treat others, acknowledge the needs of others and do what you can to be kind without expecting anything in return is essential for inner peace. Whether you volunteer, give monetarily to a person or an organization in need, or simply saying a kind word to a stranger, I encourage you to embrace selfless service not only during the holiday season but all year long. We all need a little more kindness in our lives!
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