Seva is Sexy.

Via R.R. Shakti
on Sep 12, 2010
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Darn Right!

Maybe it’s just me, but when my lover told me that he wanted to devote his life to serving others, I just wanted him all the more! Giving is irresistibly attractive!
Should that be your motivating factor? Who cares!

Let me explain.

Awhile back,  I watched “The Children’s March,” a film by Tell the Truth Pictures, which recounts the story of how 25 years ago the young people of Birmingham, Alabama braved fire hoses, police dogs and jail time to spearhead the end of segregation.

I recommend this exceptional film for so many reasons, but one thing about the story struck me. Yes, it was an inspiring account of how unity truly is power, but that wasn’t it. The film showed evidence that one is never too young to inspire social change, but that wasn’t really the clincher either.

The “big hit” I got that day came from something a little more obscure: while a few of these kids were clued into the fact that their actions could create such monumental change, many of them were making a stand, risking so much because it was the thing to do that day. It was what all their friends were doing. That day, in 1963, it was cool to buck the system and get hosed down with water and chased down by dogs and thrown into jail. And so they marched. And in the end, they made an impact.

So here goes: what if our motivation for service doesn’t even matter? Does a person who is truly in need care if your helpful attitude comes out of a desire to be recognized, a need for a tax right-off, or to make you, yourself, feel great? Probably not.

Seva means selfless (as in ego-less) service, but is there really any such thing? I mean, who on Earth is ego-less? …And what does that even mean? As I grapple for an answer, the word itself (ego-lessness) steps into file with other lofty and poetic words which have been rendered nearly impotent in our modern day society—words like “Peace,” “joy,” and even, (dare I say) “love.” Sounds great—where do I buy some?

It has become a personal quest to take such lofty abstract ideals and turn them into a real life practice; and it is one of my goals as a yoga teacher to turn catch yoga phrases into a profound experience of positive action. Peace takes serious practice, and Joy is an active choice. Love has potency when manifest; we must be it and do it. I think egolessness requires the same amount of gut level street “cred” in order to truly relate to the average modern day spiritual gangster.

And nothing has given me a deeper experience of (something even remotely resembling) egolessness as has “selfless” service. It has been, for me, the most potent form of worship and the most abundant expression of Divine Co-creation. It also generally leaves Me, Myself, feeling completely renewed.

Truly, getting the self-serving ego-self out of the way is the means to open to a bigger experience of “no self,” but please don’t get me wrong. I am not an advocate of the ruthless ego-bashing so popularized by Western-Eastern thought. In fact, I quite believe that I am manifest as this ego, ergo this unique and individualized identity for the sacred purpose of becoming a radiantly unique and individualized expression of Universal Grace.

For example: while on some level I am aware of the self-serving benefits of even writing this piece, I know that on a deeper level my cosmic being (and potentially yours) reaps so much more.

So maybe it’s not necessary for one to approach service without an ounce of ego.
My underlying and most important point is this: Selflessness is born of Service.
It is in the act itself—the practice of giving Love to the abused and Hope to the weary—that the ego is dissolved away, if only for a fleeting moment.

So what’s your motivation?


About R.R. Shakti

Yoga World Reach Director, and Certified Yoga Therapist, R.R. Shakti has been teaching "the blissipline" of Inner Power Yoga since 2000. She is a Certified Massage Therapist and Ayurvedic Health Counselor and has studied holistic approaches to health and well being for over 15 years. She has traveled extensively throughout the world gaining insight, experience, and inspiration, bringing yoga and hope to people from all walks of life. Shakti is a firm believer in the power of yoga to awaken the body’s own healing process by aligning with Grace and empowering one’s unique expression of their True Nature. She holds an A.A. in Outdoor Recreation Leadership from Colorado Mountain College, a B.A. in Traditional Eastern Arts from Naropa University and is currently pursuing a M.A./Ph.D. in Mythology and Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Visit Shakti at


5 Responses to “Seva is Sexy.”

  1. Emmanuelle says:

    Perfect time to read this article for me, I love it, thanks!

  2. Not to make light of the subject, but this reminds me of an episode of "Friends" where Phoebe & Joey are arguing about whether or not there is such thing as a selfless good deed. The argument was if doing the good deed made you feel good, then it wasn't selfless.

  3. Erika says:

    After spending much time devoting my self and work to service, I can say I truly agree! Seva is a graceful key to onlock some the souls opulent potential. Thank you Shakti!

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