Seva

Many cultures and religions believe that service is a path to spiritual health. In fact, we learn fairly early that it is better to give than receive and you probably know that it just feels good!

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras selfless service without personal expectation is known as Karma Yoga, the yoga of action. Performing actions for the sake of others is a path to health and happiness. Serving is also known as Seva in Sanskrit and many wisdom teachers see it as a spiritual practice, a way of purifying the Self.  Gandhi is credited with saying, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” By lose yourself he means losing our attachment to ego. 

Serving can be part of a practice that allows us to feel more and think less.  Giving to others is uplifting, fulfilling and can help transcend our own personal difficulties. Thinking beyond our own needs cultivates empathy and giving creates feelings of purpose and joy. Having a purpose is particularly valuable for young people.

Read more here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/07/10/the-science-of-giving-back-how-having-a-purpose-is-good-for-body-and-brain/#1b99c7166146

Science is revealing that having a purpose improves both physical and mental health, longevity and sleep!(https://www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/07_0506_hbr_brief.pdf)

Here’s a fun infographic that explains the benefits of giving:

https://my.happify.com/hd/science-of-giving-infographic/

So how do I increase my well being and feeling of purpose through giving?

I volunteer as a City Leader with Sidewalk Talk, a non-profit organization that I have chosen to support with my time, talent and treasure.  We provide unconditional, heart to heart human connection to anyone who wants to talk. It’s a joy to simply meet someone where they are and allow them to share whatever needs to be heard. Have you felt heard lately?

To learn more or to volunteer: www.sidewalktalksf.com.