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Psychology Studies have shown that happiness is contagious. By choosing to be happy, you are helping others to be happy.
Yoga tells us that happiness comes from contentment, non-grasping, and service to others. The Sanskrit word for selfless service is Seva.
It's a very simple formula, Find what you serve, your calling, Do that.
Not sure what you serve? here's a hint, we don't choose our calling, it chooses us. Meditate on it… at some level you know what moves you. When we serve our calling, there' s unlimited energy, and our sense of time slips away.
Still elusive? Try some volunteer work. There are countless opportunities to serve people, animals, and the environment. Coach a kids team, clean a river, help at the food pantry, walk the dogs over at Buddy dog… Let me know if I can help you find a gig.
I've been on the volunteer staff at the Pat Brody Shelter for Cats for over 15 years. Tomorrow morning I'll be there, cleaning, grooming, feeding, and offering my care to the homeless animals. Maybe not for everyone, but for me, the work is pure Ananda, or bliss.
There's a time for sadness and grief, surely they are healing emotions. I'm sure there's times when anxiety helps protect us. but the way back to feeling good again is to:
Do what you love, for people who love what you do.
p.s. let us know what you serve, post a comment, perhaps you'll help someone else find their way too happiness
7 thoughts on “Seva”
This winter, Framingham’s Amazing Things Arts Center found me. I’ve been volunteering as director of this community center’s art gallery – planning exhibitions, meeting artists, and coordinating volunteer activities. My work here has renewed my passion for community arts service and has inspired me to pursue my masters degree in Arts Administration. How fortunate I am to have found this place!
We are always looking for artists and volunteers, so if you or someone you know would like to join our Amazing team, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the Amazing Things website for info on our fantastic performing arts program. Concerts every weekend and open mike nights throughout the week! Go to http://www.amazingthings.org.
Namaste. May you find your Ananda, too.
Positive psychologists studying the causes of happiness have discovered that performing acts of charity, volunteerism, and good deed increases happiness. This article provides a good overview of positive psych. (Also there is an awesome Ted Talk on the topic.)
Thank you John- you just made me smile!
i am in the process of learning to serve everyone who needs chiropractic care…which is really, everyone…learning the in’s and out’s of the bodymind, mySelf in the process, and creating a picture of what i hope to offer the communities i find mySelf in. in the meantime, i’m opening the door to yoga for my wonderful friends and classmates (even a few professors!) by giving yoga classes on our campus three times a week. the commitment settles me in Truth, settles me in what is clearly my Dharma.
it’s beautiful, and it’s humbling, that when we learn to listen to the universe, we are given open doors that might never exist for anyone else, at any other moment.
It’s true! I was trying to make it work as a healer doing shiatsu for years, and it slowly drained my energy. I shifted focus. Now I teach ESL (English as a second language) and advocate (in small, personal ways and larger, policy ways) for the rights of immigrants. Things all opened up as soon as I made the switch, and the opportunities keep arising! It’s as if I was following the wrong archetype before. My energy is much stronger.
Thanks for a great yoga class today! I’m unaccustomed to my hips being so open and I’m kinda wobbly now–it’s fun!
I enjoy, very much, volunteering on the food committee at the over 55 community where I live. Throughout the year we offer a get-together each month, usually involving some type of meal which I help to plan,prepare and serve. It`s nice to see my neighbors dress up and enjoy themselves. I like to input the skills I have acquired during my food service career to help make each event run more smoothly. I know it is appreciated and we receive many compliments which we all enjoy hearing and which gives my life purpose. Thanks John for pointing this out to me. Love MoM
Good article , I’m going to spend more time learning about this topic