By Nadh Singh
“Seen a lot of rain,
Seen a lot of road,
I’ve seen a lot of the road.
We’re on overload.
I see it in myself,
It’s everywhere I go.
Every one of us
Looking for a connection
—Miten, “Connection” from Songs for the Inner Lover
When was the last time you felt a connection to other people? Have you been searching for a way to do this?
The irony of this day and age, known to some as the age of communication, is that it has never been easier to communicate with people from all over the globe in record time, yet many of us feel even more disconnected from fellow human beings than ever.
The rapidity and bulk of information erodes its quality and human color, and can often lead to people feeling overloaded, as the song above suggests. If this rings true to you, then perhaps seva is the answer you have been looking for. The word seva comes from Sanskrit and literally means “string.” It implies the inherent interconnectedness between human beings. It is through service that this connection is re-established. As a guide to help you remember what seva is, here are four handy reminders:
S: Selflessly devote yourself completely to your task, and do so with love. If you are asked or offer to do dishes or wash the floors, do so completely. With every brush of the mop or the scouring pad, recognize that there is no unimportant task, and that all acts are acts of love. Selflessly devoting yourself is honouring the divine light within you and recognizing the same divine light within others.
E: Expect nothing in return. Too often we give our time or energy and expect something in return. Some wait for the favor to be returned, while others anticipate the recognition from a colleague, friend, relative, or supervisor. Like a fisherman who waits patiently in his boat, we too may be waiting for an expected outcome to all our effort and patience, but may be sadly disappointed when the outcome is not quite what we expected. When expectations are attached to the gift of seva, then it is bound by conditions, and as such, it is not truly a gift of love, but rather a fish hook of sorts.
V: Value the string that is inherently present when doing seva. Honor seva for what it is—a connection to your inner self and to others.
A: Accept others just as they are, with loving eyes. While you’re at it, accept yourself as you are too! Don’t try to change anyone, including yourself, in the process. Simply let your acts of seva reconnect you to the You in you.
Nadh Singh is a Kundalini Yoga student who lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He is a certified public school teacher, stained glass artist, musician, and counsellor. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.