For the second year in a row I was graced with the opportunity to attend Krishna Das' Memorial Day weekend retreat at Yogaville. And for the second year in a row, my heart was completely blown open. Realizations and waves of happiness washed over me again and again. Certain topics kept coming up and I'd like to share a few with them with you in the next few posts. But first a few announcements -
- I am now a contributing writer to Intent blog. Intent and Intent blog is a brain child of Deepak Chopra's daughter Mallika. Go check out the site, there's some awesome writers and articles on there for your viewing pleasure. I am excited to join their team and to start spreading my writing wings beyond the scope of my own blog!
- Continuing that trend, I wrote a post for MindBodyGreen on how to start a yoga service. If you feel that you may want to start a yoga mission, I highly recommend you go read.
- During my stay at Yogaville I was able to snag the handsome Arjun, Krishna Das' tabla player and right hand man, for an interview. Go read it here!
So during the four day retreat, Krishna Das offered a lot of helpful words and one theme that kept arising was on service. I know shocker right. After writing post after post on yoga service this past week, of course that would be a huge topic of conversation.
KD's view on service was pretty simple "you must help yourself before you help others". He said this in a variety of different ways -
- don't do your practice for your own sake. Serve by treating others the way you want to be treated.
- you can't make anybody happy if you can't even make yourself happy
- don't worry about the world, you can't do anything about it. Just do the best you can
- if there are Buddha's and Christ's in this world and the world is still as it is, what do we do? We start where we are. We take care of our suffering.
We see the world around us and we think how bad things are. The wars, the pollution of the planet, the government, etc. We place blame on the institutions around us. But think about it, if we loved ourselves and believed we were worthy of love, do you think this planet would be in the shape it's in? I don't think so. I think we live in an fearful world because we have closed ourselves from our own love. Long ago we rejected our perfection so we seek it elsewhere; by perfecting the world maybe. If each of us were to bring all that effort we put on fixing the world inward, the outer world would have no choice but to reflect our inner peace. Our external circumstance is a clear reflection of our internal dialogue. If we loved ourselves truly, that love would have no choice but to radiate from every cell of our being.
I know going inside doesn't sound as rewarding as trying to fix others. It's more gratifying to see someone else's life all better and mended than to go into the darkness of our emotions and handle the baggage our mind has created. We even have a word for it - selfish. It's selfish to put our health as a priority. However, if you do not put yourself first, no one else will. If we do not work on ourselves, our service to others leads to codependency and exhaustion because it's coming from a place of ego rather than a place of love. Jesus and Buddha were able to give all they had because they were so consumed with love they lost the Self. That can only happen when we create a life based on loving, not on fixing.
Loving yourself is the best way to help the world. There is no doubt about that. Remove the barriers around your heart and you will see life flourish around you. Seek to love yourself and your service will truly change the world.