Seva

Now the real work begins!  That is what President-Elect Obama, the headlines, the pundits, the commenters, all said, hardly pausing to savor “victory.”  Unlike 1992, no one is suggesting that it is now time to party like it’s 1999.  I am elated by the result, but personally most encouraged by the earnestness of the reaction, the call for selflessness and effort to begin.

In yoga, one of the primary practices is seva or selfless service.  I think a critical aspect of seva is joyousness.  This is not a call to knuckle down soberly as a puritanical denial of pleasure.  Rather, it is a call to discover the pleasure in giving of oneself without asking anything in return. I begin, this morning, by giving financial support to certain groups that are hard at work to end war and torture and support the environment, but in dire need of support because of the financial crisis.  I have celebrated this morniong with heart-opening asana, and plan to take a lunchtime walk in the neighborhood and prepare delicious food from the garden, while most of my day will be devoted to working and teaching.

Each day, as this new path opens and work continues, I will strive to remember the words of Hafiz:  “[Spirit illuminates] the affairs/ Of the whole universe /While throwing wild parties/ In a tree house — on a limb / In your heart.” (The Subject Tonight is Love, 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz, Versions by Daniel Ladinsky).

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