A season for health, a season for healing.

Illness, healing, and health each have their own seasons in our lives. Some days will require we turn inward and cocoon. In our fast-paced world, we may frown upon or turn up our noses at times such as these. It is likely that we will desire to hurry up this necessary incubation process in order to “Get out there and make things happen.”

As reluctant as we may initially feel about entering into and dwelling within this sacred yin space, we may find ourselves feeling just as hesitant to emerge. Afterall, when we have suffered illness, trauma, and tragedy, re-entering the world can seem scary and overwhelming.

Seva: sacred service that heals.

One metaphysical principle that I believe to be true is that when we heal, we do not heal alone. From a yogic perspective, seva is a path to healing, or liberation. Seva is sacred service. Seva honors that when we serve others, we are really serving ourselves. When we take our attention off of our own problems and place it on the people around us, those problems lose the grip they once had on us. We may experience pain, but we are no longer suffering. We are liberated from being at the effect of the illusory physical world.

This does not mean that we turn a blind eye to our pain and use our practice to distract ourselves from dealing with our circumstances. That is what we call “spiritual bypassing”. First, we acknowledge what we are experiencing in the physical world. Then we take necessary action to heal ourselves on that level. That may require seeing a doctor, therapist, or participating in some other healing modality. It may simply mean we take time to rest. What is most important is that we take care of ourselves as best we can. We can only benefit others to the extent that we have done “the work” ourselves.

We do not heal in isolation.

It does not serve us or anyone else to refrain from serving others until we are what we believe to be fully healed. Healing is the work of a lifetime. From a yogic perspective, our souls came into this world to learn. We learn from our wounds, or, at least, that is the idea. In this life, there is no pristine place for us to return to where we can dust off our hands and say we’re done healing. The Universe wants us to grow and will gladly send more challenges our way to make that happen!

Our wounds never fully go away. That may sound fatalistic, but it is actually quite the opposite. We integrate our wounds. Where we were once weak, our healing has made us strong. Our wounds become our teacher. As we sit at the feet of this teacher and patiently learn her lessons, we cultivate the strength and earn the credibility to bring the healing we have experienced to others.

Here are some helpful tips for beginning a healthy seva practice:

  1. First and foremost, you don’t have to choose a seva practice related to something that you have personally experienced. While experience can give weight and credibility to our service, it isn’t necessary. All that is required is that we approach our seva practice with love and the desire for the highest good of all.
  2. Choose a service you are passionate about. Personal experience may inspire our passion, but it may not. Our emotions are also excellent cues as to what seva practices we are best suited to. If there is something that makes us sad, angry, or even afraid, it can be empowering to seek out ways to participate in helpful solutions in those areas. Concerned about the state of our oceans? Childhood hunger? Interracial violence? Get involved! Helping in the midwife of hope.
  3. Balance caring for others with caring for yourself. Remember, you are not the source of healing but a conduit of love. Take care of yourself and trust the process.
  4. Do what is possible. You do not have to save the world. Your actions may feel small. That is okay. Do what you can. Do what is possible.