This coming week is important to many spiritual traditions. Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week in Christian tradition. Jewish tradition observes the beginning of Passover on Tuesday and we celebrate Hanuman Jayanti, Hanuman’s birthday, on that same day. One of the unifying themes of all these observances is that of selfless devotion. Moses led his people out of exile, though he himself never saw the Promised Land. At the Last Supper Jesus offered his disciples the Passover bread and wine as symbols of his body and blood, given up for humankind. Hanuman gave his life over to the service of the Lord Rama.
Swami Satyananda once remarked, “My life is not mine to live. I am a disciple of Swami Sivananda and from him I have learned that you live your life for the sake of others.” If we truly want to transform the mind, he observed elsewhere, we have to practice dedication and self-sacrifice. “A person can never acquire control of the mind until he shares the sorrow and suffering of others and considers their misery to be his own…When you remove the pain and helplessness of other people, your own pain will be removed, ” he wrote.
As the texts for this week's observances make clear, the path of selfless devotion is not easy. It often requires doing what you don't want to do or going where you don't want to go. In some cases it takes you to a prison cell, to an assassin's bullet, to a cross. Most of us follow this path imperfectly at best. Yet it seems to me that selfless devotion is circular. Moving beyond ourselves gives us the sense of connection and meaning we are seeking in our lives, while that sense of connection and meaning become the fuel that impels us to keep moving beyond, to keep giving. The more deeply we immerse ourselves in this cycle the more fully we begin to experience our true nature, the more clearly we begin to see that at our core we are pure Love.
What are your experiences with “living your life for the sake of others?” What helps you to move beyond yourself? What connections have you found between selfless devotion and inner transformation? Come explore with us this Sunday at 5:45 at Ruscombe Community Health Center.
If you are looking for ways to engage in selfless service, consider joining one or more of our Karma Yoga projects:
- Sew or crochet for our Days for Girls project.
- Cook and serve dinner with us for Sarah’s Hope women's and children's emergency shelter.
- Help us work toward a cure for melanoma by participating in or being a sponsor for our Malas to Cure Melanoma event.
Devote as much or as little time as you have. Even an hour can make a difference in your life and the lives of others!