What is seva really? And from what space should an individual come from when he or she wants to do seva? I have noticed that I get into the same power struggle that I would, in a corporate office. I need some clarity there, please help.
There is a big difference between ‘doing seva’, and ‘serving your own Ego’.
What is the meaning of ‘Serving your own Ego’?
In the material world, man seeks for name, fame, power, position, status. There is a constant struggle to achieve/attain. The struggle is either with colleagues, boss, friend, relative, neighbours, spouse, parents, children even. One constantly seeks to prove to be better than the other. This happens at a subtle level. Ego has a subtle underlying craving to prove that ‘I am better’, or ‘I am different’, or ‘I am not like you’.
When you are ignorant and not on the spiritual path, you would not even realize that your Ego does this with your loved ones. But once you start walking this spiritual path with sincerity and commitment to your own spiritual growth, then only do you start observing the Ego clearly.
When you observe yourself with keen awareness, you recognize the Ego always wants to prove ‘I am different’. And whenever you give into the game of ‘proving yourself better than others’, you are ‘serving the Ego’!
So, having understood what is the nature of the Ego and what it does? Now ask yourself this question;
Why are you doing seva?
- If your answer comes back as; ‘Because I want to give back to society’. Red Alert! It is again the Ego. The Ego wants to prove that you are different or you are doing something ‘others are not doing’ or the big ‘I’ wants to give to the poor one who does not have.
- If the answer comes back as; ‘I want to help others be happy [but others should listen to me]’. If you have gotten into power struggles in seva too and have a hidden desire for power in the brackets, then this is a white lie that you are telling yourself. So again, Red Alert! You are serving your own Ego.
- If the answer comes back as; ‘I have nothing else to do in my free time, this is a better way to spend my free time’. Red alert again! This is also serving the Ego. You will not give priority to seva and will drop it the moment something else comes up. The Ego may also want to quietly send out a message that at least in my free time, I don’t while away my life, sitting in front of the TV with popcorn and coke. Remember again to do a reality check, you will find you are serving the Ego.
Really, think, introspect, go within, and search for what is the real answer that comes from a pure soul when he is asked, ‘Why are you doing Seva?’
The answer that comes from a wholesome mind is – ‘Seva is an opportunity to drop the big ‘I’. Somewhere the ‘I’ will learn to bow its head, to put somebody else ahead of it, to think of somebody else’s benefit other than its own.’ If this is your answer, Kudos to you! This is Pure Seva Bhaav.
Let’s learn to train this Ego to mature step-by-step into Pure Seva Bhaav. For opportunities to train while you serve, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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