Yes Moms, Meditation is Service!
November 23, 2007
I’m a mom, an oldest daughter, a nurse, a teacher, a karma yogi, – any way you look at it, I have “the heart of a servant”, as one friend described me. I am happiest when serving others, I always have been.
An attitude of service is helpful when I am in a new situation or I have to speak to a group of unfamiliar people. If I ask God to use me as an instrument, I am able to see past the outward circumstances and relax into what is trying to happen.
If I am having trouble waiting for something to happen (which occurs far too often!), finding something helpful to do directs the energy away from impatience. Joy immediately returns because I am no longer focused on me.
Paramhansa Yogananda said that service is one of the fastest paths to God, but he also said that meditation is essential. Meditation is the best way to get out of focusing on the self and learn to focus on God.
Getting up at night with a sick child, doing endless piles of laundry, rubbing my husband’s aching shoulders, and volunteering time at the Portland Ananda Temple and Teaching Center, are all done with a heart full of gratitude at the opportunity. But when it comes to finding the time to meditate, my mind hits a snag, because it feels like “me” time. Meditation is time away from family, time away from the long need-to-do list of outward service to others. Meditation is time alone. Meditation looks…selfish.
All self-definitions are limiting, even when viewed as positive, and they get in the way of our spiritual growth. Seeing meditation like an afternoon at the spa is wrong thinking. I have been working on correcting my thinking and perhaps you moms out there need to work on this as well.
Although more subtle, meditation is the most powerful way we have of serving our family, our community, and the planet. Meditation opens the door for more divine light to pour into the world, through our devotion and will. The greatest servants throughout history, the saints, spend many hours alone with God every day.
When my children need my help with a special interest or concern, I spend long hours reading and doing whatever I can to assist them. I am always looking for ways to improve my ability to serve. Meditation is the ultimate “how-to” course. Meditation opens the heart and increases our awareness so we are able to serve more effectively in every area of our lives.
The results of meditation are harder to measure than the dwindling pile of laundry. But if we look we will notice increased joy, patience, calmness, peace and compassion in ourselves and those around us. The improvement in our relationship with God is immeasurable, but even more profound.
Yogananda advised, “Be ever busy for God. When you are not meditating, be active for Him. And when meditating, offer your mind up to Him in the same spirit of service, with keen, alert attention. Keep the mind ever busy with God, and with doing good for others.” from Essence of Self-Realization
In divine friendship and service, Lorna