I’m not sure how long I would last in an Ashram. I guess if I wasn’t speaking to anyone and wore a robe then I may feel the part. As well as practicing asana postures the students are asked to perform seva, or service. These actions are intended to uplift and assist the ashram community done with a compassionate heart for the well being of others. Things like scrubbing the floor over and over again.
Not unlike doing difficult yoga poses, the aspirants are put in conditions our of their control, scenarios that aren’t that comfortable and are expected to perform the duty selflessly. It gives the student a chance to see what comes up for them as they work without any thanks or praise or attachment to the outcome. They work whether they want to or not.
If you have never performed this type of duty it’s an interesting experiment in seeing which parts of your personality fail to shine when no one is looking. So this weekend I spent a couple of hours cleaning some old steps. It was back breaking, hard, cold work. I didn’t like it and I wanted someone to help me. I even tried to get someone to acknowledge my work. I tried also to get others to pitch in. All my bad head words came up. Too impolite to mention, but it was like instead of being in my lovely neighbour hood I had moved to the bad side in my head.
So imagine how little I felt when I read about the guy below. There are thousands of others like him, doing work for the benefit of others. I guess he isn’t thinking about how useless everyone else is. People like this work from the feeling of abundance. There is plenty of time, energy, resources to help. People like me work from scarcity, I don’t have enough time or energy to do this.
Practice for today: Is there some way you can be the one person to bring change to the world by practicing Seva? Is there something you can do without expecting reward or outcome that benefits the whole? There is time, energy and resources for this, the Universe if very generous when it comes to compassion and thoughtfulness.
Be the change you want to see in the world
“A little over 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav “Molai” Payeng began burying seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in northern India’s Assam region to grow a refuge for wildlife. Not long after, he decided to dedicate his life to this endeavor, so he moved to the site where he could work full-time creating a lush new forest ecosystem. Incredibly, the spot today hosts a sprawling 1,360 acre of jungle that Payeng planted single-handedly.” From Grow Food not Lawns.