Selfless service or Seva (a Sanskrit
word) is a service which is performed without any expectation of result or award for the person performing it.
In the past few years I have moved closer to an understanding of what it means to be in service to others and I attribute this awakening to my daily practice of meditation. You see, I haven’t always been one to care much for others, let alone demonstrate random acts of kindness or give of my time and energy to serve a perfect stranger. Here and there I showed signs of archetypal caregiver energy but never full-on service. I always expected something in return, which was usually some form of love via attention, affection, appreciation and acceptance.
Over the last six years I have observed other people offering their seva to others through myriad of expressions. The one thing that always stood out to me was how joyful it made them to be in the space of helping, guiding and supporting perfect strangers. Their contributions and their presence were creating a transformational experience for those who they were helping but what’s even more incredible is that the folks who were giving their time, energy and presence seemed to be receiving it ten-fold in return. I will venture to say that in most cases they received more than they gave. It truly cracked my heart wide open to witness these incredible exchanges.
Within a relatively short period of time, and completely without my realizing it as it was happening, I too began to move in the direction of opportunities that would allow me to serve others. The first real demonstration of my seva was the sponsorship of a 4-year old boy in Uganda named Purpose. For a monthly donation, I was able to provide the child with clothing, education and medical attention. This was a big deal for me because I knew that this was a decision that I would commit to until the child no longer required my assistance, which could be upward of 15 years. I knew deep within me that this child was in need and that I was in a position to help without any need for reciprocation or reward. I really didn’t think twice about it. I’ve been sponsoring Purpose for six years and I know that I am making a huge difference in his life. On some level, this makes my purpose more evident to me.
A year after my first act of seva, I began hosting and co-facilitating an emotional healing program developed by Dr. David Simon, M.D., co-founder of the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California. David’s life was dedicated to teaching others the tools to heal themselves from dis-ease and to find emotional freedom. David was often quoted as saying that “the purpose of life is to love more and to be happy”. It was through working with David so closely for a number of years that I realized I needed emotional healing and also that I wanted to help others as they journeyed through their own dark nights of the soul. David’s life as he knew it soon came to an end when he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor known as Gleoblastoma Multiforme. Knowing that his time would be cut short, David asked me to step into his shoes and continue his work in helping humanity to move through their emotional turbulence and return, once again, to wholeness. I have been in service to others in this way ever since and nothing gives me greater joy than to know I can make a difference in the lives of others.
“Even after all this time the Sun never says to the Earth, “You owe me.”
Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky.”– Hafiz
This past weekend, I had an opportunity to serve at an emergency women and children’s shelter in my community. When I first learned of the opportunity I felt a combination of empathy for what they have been through and are currently experiencing and also a deep sense of gratitude for the chance to help in any way that I could. On Sunday morning I arrived at the shelter through a secured entrance and was guided to the room where I would spend time with them. I spent nearly 3 hours at the shelter teaching the women meditation and tools for conscious choice-making. Through sharing some of my own personal experiences with them in an open forum, they soon let their guards down and began to engage in dialogue. They began to light up with hope and express themselves openly. Their deep appreciation and gratitude was palpable without them needing to say anything and that was the richest reward I could have hoped for.
What I know unequivocally is that the act of seva, of being in service to others, diffuses the notion of separation and creates a sense of connection that we all inherently crave at the foundational core of our being. I believe that through simple acts of kindness, compassion and connection we can create a more peaceful, just, sustainable and healthy world.
Self-reflection + Inspired Action
- In what ways have you – or are you currently – receiving / rejecting service from others?
- In what ways do you offer your seva to others?
- How can you move in the direction of providing seva in your own community?
An International Bestselling Author, Lifestyle and Leadership Coach and speaker, Tris Thorp is one of today’s leading experts in the field of personal growth and leadership development. Having spent a decade traveling the world, being trained by and sharing the stage with Dr. Deepak Chopra in the field of social emotional learning, consciousness and mindfulness-based practices, Tris has a real gift for integrating the ancient spiritual teachings with modern-day science and mindfulness to help people all over the world let go of their past and create an empowered new future.
During her tenure at the Chopra Center, Tris apprenticed under the Chopra Center’s co-founder Dr. David Simon, co-facilitating the Healing the Heart and Emotional Freedom workshops alongside him. Prior to his passing in 2012, Dr. Simon appointed Tris as the person to carry on his teachings in the field of emotional healing. In addition, Tris was fortunate to be mentored by the late Debbie Ford prior to her passing in 2013, which is where she continued her extensive studies of the unconscious mind and concepts of the persona and shadow. After the loss of her two mentors, Tris went on to become certified through the Ford Institute as a coach specializing in Shadow Work and reconciling mental and emotional issues stemming from past experiences. She continues to share the gifts of emotional healing and facilitating this work in the footsteps of her former mentors.
Tris is the International bestselling author of Healing Your Heart: Rewrite Your Story with Awareness and Intention. A guide book to understanding your emotions, how we create our story and workable tools and techniques to heal from the past, Healing Your Heart stewards you through the process of releasing mental and emotional baggage, forgiving yourself and others, setting and enforcing boundaries and consciously communicating your needs in a loving and effective way so you can be who you’re meant to be, do the things you want to do and have all that you deserve to have in this life.
Tris is also the co-author of bestseller Mental and Emotional Release® with Dr. Matt James. Written in a language both professionals and non-professionals can understand, Mental and Emotional Release® offers real life case studies, an overview of MER and its foundation, step by step scripts to follow, and clinical efficacy studies comparing MER to other therapies.
Clearly in her dharma, Tris’s passion and dedication to gently guide people on their inward journey through personal growth is evident in her work as a Lifestyle and Leadership coach, Trainer of Mental and Emotional Release and workshop facilitator. She teaches various courses on leadership development, personal empowerment, social emotional learning and higher states of consciousness – both in online courses and her certification programs, live workshops, VIP retreats and 1-1 clients.
Tris Thorp is Board Certified by the Association of Integrative Psychology as a Trainer of Mental and Emotional Release ®, Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Hypnosis, and Mental and Emotional Release ®, a Certified Reiki Master, and an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance.
Tris is devoted to inspiring and empowering others to cultivate and maintain mindfulness-based lifestyle practices that lead to greater clarity, purpose and fulfillment. Through one-on-one coaching, online programs and live events, Tris specializes in helping people to fully release negative emotions, limiting beliefs and unconscious patterns, enabling them to make quantum leaps into the life they are truly meant to be living.
Bravo, Trista! This is beautiful. Seva is such a powerful practice and really it is a way of life. I am inspired by your sharing your time and skills with your community. I generally bring this spirit of service to my work with clients and to my Plant Spirit Medicine Healing practice. I love what you did and it occurs to me to seek opportunities to share my healing practice with people in my immediate community so that they can feel and be part of the gifts of the plant spirits. I have such fond memories of our work with David in the Healing the Heart event. Your presence and support of the healing of so many people was gorgeous. Sending you my very best wishes, Adrilia