The economic race keeps most of us busy all our lives. We spend all our time and energy with the sole aim of being a good provider for our families. The luckier ones find it an easy task but for most it is an uphill struggle consuming our life itself.
We all dream of retiring into a peaceful life where we are free to do what we choose. Shortly into retirement, this dream turns sour. We find that we have so much time in our hand and know not how to use it or fill it. What is worse, our jobs that gave us a purpose, a routine and lots of work to occupy this time have deserted us. We feel lost and disoriented.
Pause and introspect. Also look around. You will discover that humans over a period of time have forgotten the Art of ‘Giving’ and are busy only ‘Taking’. Nature did not plan for this. Nature has designed a cyclic food chain which rests on interdependence, mutuality and co-existence. In this food chain lower is the food of the higher but its cyclic nature allows all to co-exist and flourish. Humans sit atop this food chain. Our culture recognised this and established rituals and values wherein humans consciously participated in this cycle by performing SEWA, thus converting them to Givers from their early stance of only taking. Most eastern religions raised this to the highest levels of Dharma and made it mandatory to perform SEWA. The Sikhs are a living embodiment of this.
SEWAS PERFORMED BY OUR ANCESTORS
How to perform SEWA – the art of giving! Just look back and see what our ancestors did. Each morning they offered water to the Sun, provided water and feed to the birds and then ensured that a portion of their meal was kept aside for feeding the common animals that lived around them. These gestures were responsible for our ancestors feeling that they are an integral part of the eco system and made them comprehend the connectedness of it all. A sense of responsibility towards the living beings surrounding our elders took priority.
Today we live in urban spaces – separated physically and mentally – from the magnificent NATURE that nurtures us. This separation further accentuates the prevalence of loneliness. Here are a few tips to overcome this deficiency.
3 WAYS for REKINDLING SPIRIT OF SEWA
- Start with meeting the rising Sun. Offer water. Do it from your balcony or rooftop or even ground floor – wherever you can view the Sun rising. This act will ensure that your daily routine synchronises with the solar cycle. Your body clock will automatically align itself with the circadian clock providing health gains. Benefits of the early Sunrays are only too well known to be repeated here.
- Next find an area where birds come, play and sing. There always be such an area somewhere near your home. Place a water dish and spread some birdfeed there. Their sudden alighting and landing – a quick sip of water, a quick bite – and equally rapid lift off – will fill you with delight. If you are able to fix a routine or regularity to this, you will be surprised to see them anxiously awaiting you a la Santa Claus and Christmas. You will be only too happy to add them to your list of friends.
- Next activity is feeding the animals in your area. This can be difficult in some big urban spaces. But our unplanned growth of cities actually ensures that this is not so difficult. Some pockets always exist that have refused to mainstream and continue to stick to their earlier lifestyle. Such pockets will always house cattle of all kind for their use or some economic purpose. Search and you shall find. Many segments of our roads too play house to stray dogs and cattle. You only have to look consciously. Feed them the portion that you kept for them from your plate. You could also regularly clean up your refrigerator by passing the unused leftovers. These animals love all food and their eyes and tails will wag sufficiently to let you know that you made them happy. Their warm look will give you the sense of satisfaction that arises from sharing and giving.
These simple acts of SEWA performed daily will help you climb the ladder whose steps take you from being a TAKER to a GIVER increasing your sense of worth.
We will continue this journey of helping you find more ways of SEWA so that you become a GIVER aligning yourself with NATURE. These activities will repurpose your life and add meaning to it.