“Everyone can be great,” Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “because everyone can serve.”
Seva, the Sanskrit term for service, is often boiled down to selflessly doing for others but for me it’s not just service in support of others but service in support of myself. Our yoga practice is more than a physical practice. It is a spiritual practice that challenges us to investigate our beliefs and our stories, and be of service to what we discover. We are presented with opportunities to serve everyday but do we always choose to serve? Serving is a multi-use path; it helps us connect, it teaches us about ourselves and others, it opens doors to ideas and beliefs that we may not otherwise consider or encounter, it gives us opportunities to challenge our assumptions and perhaps change our mind. Yoga is a practice that I choose so I can be in service -- becoming a better person to myself and others. The more I am in service the more I see opportunities to be of service, and the more I want to serve.
I am a strong believer that service, like kindness, is something that can be cultivated. Today in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. I encourage you to cultivate a presence of service. Be the person who wipes down the grocery cart and gives it to the person behind you. Be the person who acts against injustice -- this can be huge but it can also be the simple but powerful act of NOT laughing at a friend’s or colleague’s racist or sexist “joke”. Be the person to help give voice to the downtrodden. Be the person who donates their time, energy or money to make a difference in someone else’s life. Be the person to stand strong in support of others. Be the person who notices your attitudes, perceptions, and reactions and investigates them. Be the person to help first and smile first -- holding the door open to others.