Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Benefits of Seva by Sri (Sonya) McNeill. Posted on April 1, 2011

I continue to be amazed by the changes that yoga brings. With each course, with each practice changes have occurred, I grow deeper and deeper. My initial journey into the depths of myself reminded me of going to the pool when I was a child. I would watch in amazement as people jumped in the deep end. I was as amazed by the jumps as by the depth of their destination. The same thing always happened though, I would watch for quite awhile and then my longing to be in the water would take over my fear of the deep end. That didn’t mean jumping in, it meant that I walked back to the 3 foot water to enter the pool. My first Svaroopa course produced the same experience as I sat in awe listening to yogis describe going into the depths. I felt as though I was sitting in the shallow end of the pool as I struggled with poses, blankets, pain, etc. Each time I returned for a new course I found a new and deeper experience. Asana, meditation, and studying the texts have been my path to the deep end. Now I know that seva, karma yoga, takes me into awareness and consciousness as well.

When the ashram opened I found myself on the side of the pool again, wondering how to be a part of it, wondering how to go deeper. I volunteered for a project. Actually, I begged and practically harassed Swamiji into giving me a project, in its entirety. I thought the project was as simple as scanning, saving, and transferring data. Little did I know that this project would become my new deep end of the pool, pool of fire that is. As I dove deeper into the project, I dove deeper into myself. From the moment I received the tasks I began to meet more of my mini-selves, those aspects of yourself that you believe define you. I met the self that immediately sees the big picture but not the details, the self that refuses to ask for help due to fear of leaving a negative impression and the self that is not techno savvy. Hello SELF! I learned that when you begin a project, complete a small portion first so you can see the glitches in the process before you get to what you think is the end. That would have been lesson enough but there was more. Thanks to this project I also learned that it really is okay that I don’t know. Funny, I’ve given that advice to others for years but have never taken it. I learned its okay to ask for help. Actually it’s mandatory. Two heads, three heads, four heads, really are better than one.

Because of this project, because of diving head first into the deep end, I met myself, several little selves actually and arrived at a place deeper seated in consciousness. I didn’t expect to get here by volunteering. When I started my goal was to give of myself and that alone would have been satisfying, instead, I found mySelf. Seva has expanded my heart, my knowingness, and awareness and for that I am grateful. The experience of this seva project has been so valuable to me that I want to dive deeper still and have volunteered to be the Seva Coordinator. I know that this journey will propel me into the depths. Unlike my childhood memory, this time I’m jumping in. Joy!

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